How many treasures does the Palace Museum in Beijing own? Does the Palace Museum have 9,999.5 rooms? Shan Jixiang, curator of the museum, revealed the secrets during a speech at Southeast University in Nanjing where he was named a part-time professor on Sunday.
After the ceremony, Shan delivered a speech and revealed several secrets.
A view of the Palace Museum after the first snow, Nov 21, 2016. [Photo/Xinhua]
1. Is it difficult to become a cultural relic restorer?
After the documentary Masters in the Forbidden City, which profiled the work of the museum's restoration department, became an internet hit, many people got interested in the job of restorer. "The Palace Museum wanted to recruit 60 new employees, while 15,000 people applied for the job. So many people wanted to repair relics in the Palace Museum."
2. How many treasures does the Palace Museum have?
Shan revealed that there are a total of 1,807,558 pieces or sets of treasures in the museum, and each piece has an "identity card" which specifies the historical and artistic value of the piece. Among them, 93.2 percent are national-level relics, 6.4 percent are common relics, and 0.4 percent are reserved materials, so almost all of them are very precious treasures.
Each year, around 10,000 pieces of relics are displayed in over 70 exhibition halls, so most people are not able to view all of them.
3. Does the Palace Museum have 9,999.5 rooms?
It is said that the Palace Museum has 9,999.5 rooms, but Shan said that the number of rooms in the ancient architecture in the museum totals 9,371.
Shan said that "Sometimes I can't stand watching costume dramas. For example, Ming Dynasty emperors held early meetings at the platform in front of the Hall of Supreme Harmony (Taihedian), instead of inside the palace like the drama always shows."
Shan said now the overall restoration of the museum's ancient architecture has entered its core areas, like the Hall of Mental Cultivation (Yangxin Dian), Qianlong Garden, and the city wall.
4. What other mysterious palaces will open?
The opening of the Shoukang Palace last year, the residence of Empress Dowager Chongqing, the mother of Emperor Qianlong, has attracted many visitors.
In the next four years, Yangxin Dian (The Hall of Mental Cultivation) where emperors lived, Yuqing Gong, where crown price studied, and Ningshou Gong (Palace of Tranquil Longevity), which Emperor Qianlong built for himself to live after retirement, and Fengxian Dian (The Hall for Ancestral Worship), will open one by one.
"We plan that 80 percent of the total area will open in 2020, and 85 percent in 2025, and now it is 76 percent," Shan said. "People can choose different routes from the west part and east part, instead of just touring the Forbidden City along with the axle wire in the future."