選單圖示選單圖示

National Palace Museum

Traveling with Art: Painting and Calligraphy Accompanying the Qianlong Emperor's Southern Tours

With blooming flowers and sunny days in the spring, Jiangnan is known for its beautiful and mesmerizing scenery as well as being the background of the famous historical events collectively called "Qianlong's Inspection Tours to Jiangnan," which took place more than two centuries ago. Let us enjoy the pleasantness of spring this year by paying a trip to the National Palace Museum (NPM) and see the special exhibition Traveling with Art: Painting and Calligraphy Accompanying the Qianlong Emperor's Southern Tours.

The Qianlong Emperor, whose reign lasted 60 years, wrote the most poems out of all Chinese emperors. Statistics have shown that the emperor created an average of more than 660 poems per year, and that in some years, the number even exceeded a thousand. An assiduous writer, the Qianlong Emperor's poem creation is close to being unprecedented among all the other Chinese emperors. In addition, during his reign, the industrious emperor went on inspection tours to Jiangnan as many as six times. By studying the emperor's poems and records of the southern inspection tours, NPM visitors will be able to obtain first-hand information pertaining to the emperor's trips, enabling them to observe the emperor's activities as well as his endeavors in solidifying his political control of the country.

An inspection tour by an emperor is everything but the ordinary and features remarkable "luggage" as well as a significant number of retinues. During the six southern inspection tours, the Qianlong Emperor, who called himself the "the perfect old man," brought with him his favorite artifact collection from the imperial palace and collected painting and calligraphy works of natural scenery of the locations where he visited to facilitate comparisons between the two. The emperor also received new artifacts from officials and gentries prior to and during the trip. However, the collection of artwork, which has "travelled" together with the emperor, has "experienced" markedly different circumstances, adding to the eventfulness of the journey.

    This exhibition showcases the works that the emperor had brought along with him during his southern inspection tours in a chronological order as well as based on the routes he had taken. The artifacts illustrate how the emperor selected and appreciated painting and calligraphy works of natural scenery produced by local artists from the places that he had visited. The exhibition catalogue adopts the themes of the special exhibition and is divided into four sections (i.e., "Making Preparations to Travel," "Art Appreciation in Qianlong's Travels," "Traveling Sources of Art," and "Fate in the Journey of Art"), fully displaying the impressiveness of the southern inspection tours that transpired more than two hundred years ago as well as the concept of mobile imperial palace.

This exhibition catalogue contains an amazing compilation of Chinese painting and calligraphy works, in which the southern inspection tour routes as well as the emperors' perspectives in art appreciation during the Song, Yuan, Ming, and Qing dynasties are introduced to inspire readers and offer an interesting and dissimilar reading experience. As the luggage is revealed, readers will be able to witness the emperor's journey up-close.

Traveling with Art: Painting and Calligraphy Accompanying the Qianlong Emperor's Southern Tours
Traveling with Art: Painting and Calligraphy Accompanying the Qianlong Emperor's Southern Tours