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Beijing opens "Emperor wood" furniture museum
From:Xinhua News  Writer:  Date:2011-02-15


China's first museum to showcase furniture and artworks made of the rare and expensive Phoebe sheareri, also known as "emperor wood" in ancient China, has now opened its doors to the public in Beijing, the museum's curator said Monday.

Pheobe sheareri is a rare tree native to the southern Chinese provinces of Sichuan, Guizhou, Hubei and Hunan. The wood is highly resistant to decay and has a faint but pleasant fragrance, said Ma Zhiyong, curator of the museum.

Dubbed "emperor wood," it was the main material used to build palaces,royal temples as well as furniture in ancient China, especially in the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) and Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), during which only the royal family could use it, according to Zhou Jingnan, a researcher with the Palace Museum.

The museum, covering more than 2,000 square meters, displays over 300 pieces of luxurious Phoebe sheareri furniture and crafts, six pieces of which are worth more than 100 million yuan (about 15.2 million U.S. dollars) each, said Ma.

Visitors will have to make a reservation in advance as the museum can only receive a limited amount of visitors each day, he added.
 
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