(Question from East and West) Wang Xudong: How does the Forbidden City create a Chinese cultural living room where Eastern and Western civilizations learn from each other?

  China News Service, Beijing, November 30th, title: How does the Forbidden City create a Chinese cultural living room where Eastern and Western civilizations learn from each other?

  ——Interview with Wang Xudong, Dean of the Palace Museum

  "China News Weekly" reporter Ni Wei

  "Culture cannot be a single big one, no matter whether it is small or small, we must respect it." Wang Xudong, Dean of the Palace Museum, has repeatedly expressed the importance of exchanges and cooperation to introduce external perspectives to heritage research.

In October 2020, tourists photographed the Forbidden City in Jingshan Park, Beijing.

Photo by China News Agency reporter Du Yang

  Recently, Wang Xudong accepted an exclusive interview with "Question about East and West" and talked about cultural exchanges, epidemics, "culture and museum fever", and the North Campus.

He believes that the spiritual core of the Forbidden City is not only luxury and grandeur, but also openness and tolerance.

At the moment, cultural relics and museums should be used to build exchange platforms to promote understanding and goodwill among different countries and people.

The summary of the interview record is as follows:

"Culture can't be a big one, no matter whether it is small or small, it must be respected"

"China News Weekly" reporter: After you came to the Forbidden City, the cooperation between the Forbidden City and Dunhuang increased significantly.

Some time ago, the "Dun Xing Gu Yuan-The Forbidden City Dunhuang Special Exhibition" was the Dunhuang exhibition that came to the Forbidden City Meridian again in the past 70 years. How did the idea of ​​curating the exhibition come from?

Wang Xudong: The

Dunhuang exhibition was held in the Forbidden City. In fact, our predecessors did it in the early 1950s.

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party of China. We have a tacit understanding with the Dunhuang Academy, that is, through the re-meeting of these two world cultural heritages, we can demonstrate our protection, research, and inheritance under the leadership of the Communist Party of China. Some important results can be said to be a hit.

  The exhibition not only presents the dialogue between the two world cultural heritages, but also tells us that cultural exchanges and mutual learning may lead to the emergence of a newer cultural form and bring us the power of innovation.

We can see this kind of openness and tolerance in Dunhuang, and we can also see it in the Forbidden City.

Chinese culture has continuously absorbed foreign cultures in history, and it is only because of the mutual influence and innovative development of cultures in different regions within the country that our cultural self-confidence has been formed. This is not blind self-confidence.

In November 2021, spectators will enjoy the reproduction of Buddha statues in Mogao Grottoes at the "Dun Xing Gu Yuan: The Forbidden City Dunhuang Special Exhibition" in the Palace Museum in Beijing.

Photo by China News Agency reporter Hou Yu

"China News Weekly" reporter: When you explained the cultural connotation of the Forbidden City and Dunhuang, you mentioned two key words, openness and tolerance. Does this connotation also make sense at the moment?

Wang Xudong:

There is no doubt about it.

Because we have seen that in history, when you are open and tolerant, the country and nation develop upward; when you are closed, conservative, and conceited, you go downhill.

Where does this history come from?

On the one hand, it is in ancient documents and on the other hand, it needs to be excavated in cultural relics and heritage evidence. The Forbidden City and Dunhuang have left us physical testimony.

"China News Weekly" reporter: How is the openness and tolerance of the Forbidden City reflected?

Wang Xudong: The

Forbidden City is the imperial palace and political and cultural center of the Ming and Qing Dynasties. We are a multi-ethnic country with diverse regional cultures, ethnic cultures, and religious cultures.

Therefore, we can see the excellent cultures of different regions in China, even foreign cultures, as well as religious cultures such as Buddhism, Taoism, and Shamanism, converging and co-existing in this royal palace. This is a kind of openness and tolerance.

  The culture of a nation cannot represent such a large multi-ethnic family, so we must respect each other and respect the culture of a minority ethnic group.

Culture cannot be a single big one, no matter whether it is small or small, we must respect it.

You can maintain national unity and national unity under the consciousness of a national community, and you can see such cultural forms in the Forbidden City.

In December 2020, the "Majestic Treasures-The Palace Museum Collection Exhibition" was launched in Beijing Guardian Art Center.

The picture shows the exhibits of "Qianlong gold-plated copper and turquoise stupa".

Photo by China News Agency reporter Hou Yu

To build the Forbidden City into a living room for Chinese cultural exchanges and mutual learning among civilizations

"China News Weekly" reporter: Last year was 600 years after the Forbidden City was built. After 600 years, do you have any new goals for the development of the Forbidden City?

Wang Xudong:

We propose four visions to build the Palace Museum into a world-class museum, a model of world cultural heritage protection, a leader in the integration of culture and tourism, and a Chinese cultural hall for cultural exchanges and mutual learning.

We must let our exhibitions and scholars go out, and exhibitions and scholars from other countries will come in, especially hope that young people can interact.

Let them realize that different civilizations have exchanged and learned from each other in history, and realize that the cultural gene of the Chinese nation is the pursuit of peace.

But now many people do not particularly understand the world significance and value of Chinese civilization.

"China News Weekly" reporter: It has been nearly two years since the outbreak of the new crown epidemic. Has it brought you some in-depth thinking? What longer-term impact and changes will the epidemic bring to museums?

Wang Xudong:

Change can be said to be subversive, because it changes the world, and it also changes the entire museum field.

How to increase the intensity of the excavation of the cultural connotation of the museum and give people more cultural power, this is the first.

The second is how to transform the unearthed value and let more people share it. This is definitely the biggest challenge in the future and our mission.

  At present, the construction of the "Digital Forbidden City" is accelerating, and the digitization of cultural relics is transformed into digital products that are both informative, interesting and enjoyable, and they are launched for free for everyone to share.

We are still doing live broadcasts, planning some live broadcasts when the flowers are in full bloom, in the most beautiful autumn, and when it is snowing.

Some attempts have been made last year, and I believe it will become the norm in the future.

In September 2021, the "Digital Palace Experience Zone" of the Palace Museum was unveiled at the "2021 China International Trade in Services Fair" in Beijing.

Photo by China News Agency reporter Jia Tianyong

To create a life aesthetics for the whole society, so that the common people can share the fruits of development

"China News Weekly" reporter: In recent years, the Forbidden City has also taken the initiative to make some changes, telling the story of the Forbidden City in a way that young people accept.

Some documentaries and variety shows have promoted the "cultural boom", and the Forbidden City has played a very crucial role.

What do you think of the rise of the "cultural boom"?

Wang Xudong:

The rise of the "cultural and cultural boom" is consistent with the economic and social development of the entire country.

After people's material life is quite satisfied, they begin to pursue spiritual and cultural life.

  Some people say that the Forbidden City is the place to check in. I think it’s okay to check in first, but it’s a bit of a waste of time if you stay at the clock.

The first time is to check in, the second time you may have to understand more deeply, and then you will understand from another angle when you go again, and continue to in-depth.

From punching cards to being close, we finally get a kind of cultural power and influence from it, which turns into something within us.

In July 2021, Li Zhining, a "post-80s" boy, used 700,000 Lego pixel particles to create a 4m×2.4m miniature version of the "Forbidden City", which was displayed in Dongcheng Kindergarten, Panyu District, Guangzhou, and named the work. As "I am Chinese".

Photo by China News Agency reporter Chen Chuhong

"China News Weekly" reporter: Many people's interest in the Forbidden City is still in the Qing palace drama.

Wang Xudong:

This is relatively narrow.

The Forbidden City is indeed a royal palace, and this attribute can never be removed.

The Qing Palace Opera is a literary interpretation, it wants to express its own things.

If you use Qing palace dramas to understand the Forbidden City and the Palace Museum, you will look down on it.

It is a cultural palace, the wisdom creation of the working people in ancient times.

  Sometimes we have to look at these royal things from another angle.

Why is it so exquisite?

Because they are at all costs, we not only see its beauty, but also luxury.

I think we have to reflect a little bit. Can we have a simple beauty instead of luxurious beauty? If more energy is used to create a life aesthetics for the whole society, will the common people also be able to share the fruits of development?

This is also an angle, don't just marvel at the beauty and craftsmanship.

Young people have to think slowly, it is impossible to comprehend it all at once.

Don't worry, we will continue to have something to attract young people, and we must cultivate children's understanding of excellent traditional culture from an early age.

In February 2021, the Palace Museum launched the "Honesty, Caution and Benevolence-Qing Palace Medicine Cultural Relics Exhibition".

The exhibition is a permanent exhibition "Imperial Medicine Museum".

Medical cultural relics are a distinctive category among the many collections of the Palace Museum, and are important physical relics reflecting the court medical activities in the Qing Dynasty.

Photo by China News Agency reporter Du Yang

The North Campus is expected to start next year and is positioned as a comprehensive modern museum

"China News Weekly" reporter: Because of the lack of internal space in the Forbidden City, the Beiyuan District was planned in Haidian (located in Xiyuhe Village, Xibeiwang Town, Haidian District, and the project started in 2018). What progress is there now in the Beiyuan District?

Wang Xudong:

At the beginning, the North

Campus was

planned because there was no place to preserve, restore, and exhibit many large cultural relics in the Forbidden City, but now it has far exceeded that idea.

Work should start next year, and it will be open to the public after three to five years of hard work.

At that time, our protection and restoration conditions, warehouse conditions for cultural relics collection, and exhibition conditions will be greatly improved.

  The building area of ​​the North Campus is 100,000 square meters, and the exhibition space should reach about 60,000 square meters, which is many times larger than the exhibition space of this hospital. In the future, many cultural relics that the audience has never seen can be exhibited there.

The North Campus will provide the audience with another option. They can go to the cultural relic exhibition. Those who have not bought tickets for the Forbidden City will have a digital exhibition there, and they can watch the entire Forbidden City in the cinema.

It is a comprehensive modern museum.

We are full of expectations, but hard work is needed.

In October 2018, "The Palace Museum North Campus Project" was officially launched in Beijing.

Photo by China News Agency reporter Du Yang

"China News Weekly" reporter: In recent years, the Forbidden City has introduced cultural relic exhibitions from Afghanistan, Greece, Russia and other countries. Will you see other foreign exhibitions in the Forbidden City in the future?

Wang Xudong: In the

future, international exchanges and dialogues will be more frequent and diversified. The international exhibition next year has already been prepared. Only after the epidemic is brought under control, the exhibition can be set up.

In October 2018, "The Palace Museum North Campus Project" was officially launched in Beijing.

Photo by China News Agency reporter Du Yang

  Dialogue is too important. Only dialogue can eliminate misunderstandings and reduce disputes; without dialogue, all that is left is speculation and suspicion.

I think the cultural relic exchange exhibition occupies an extremely important position in the cultural exchange dialogue. The cultural relics are the wisdom and creation of the ancient working people. Through the cultural relics, you can see their worldview, values, and understanding of people.

Many aspects are consistent. When we find similarities, can't the disputes be put aside?

The problem now is that they don’t understand each other.


  About the interviewee:

Photo by Wang Xudong, Dean of the Palace Museum, China News Agency reporter Du Yang

  Wang Xudong, former Dean of Dunhuang Academy, is currently a member of the Party Leadership Group of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, and Dean of the Palace Museum.

In 2002, he graduated from the School of Resources and Environment of Lanzhou University, majoring in geological engineering, with a postgraduate degree, a doctorate in engineering, and a research librarian.

Mainly engaged in research on grottoes, ancient murals and earthen ruins protection, cultural heritage monitoring and early warning and preventive protection.

Since the beginning of cultural relics protection in 1991, he has presided over the completion of more than 60 protection and maintenance projects for key cultural relics protection units in the country, undertook nearly 20 national and provincial-level projects, and hosted or served as the main participant to complete cooperation with the United States, Japan, the United Kingdom, Australia and other countries. There are more than 10 international cooperation projects carried out by relevant cultural heritage protection and management institutions, and more than 10 national or provincial science and technology awards have been awarded, and many honorary titles such as "National Outstanding Scientific and Technological Worker", "Top Innovative Talent in the Publicity and Cultural System", etc. , Selected into the National Hundreds, Thousands of Talents Project and Gansu Provincial Leading Talents Project.