The National Library of Australia, partnering with the National Library of China, willpresent Chinese treasures that provided the foundations of modern China inQing: Life in China, 1644 – 1911.
The exhibition, which will be a one-off event exclusive to Canberra, will run in the first half of 2016.
National Library of Australia Director-General Anne-Marie Schwirtlich said the exhibition will help Australians better understand this extraordinary culture and provide an insight into the diversity of life in China during the last imperial dynasty.
“The National Library of Australia is delighted to be collaborating with our colleagues at the National Library of China to present an exhibition that will explore the richness of Chinese culture and tradition through the prism of two great library collections,” Ms Schwirtlich said.
The exhibition takes pieces from the fifth-largest library collection in the world, and includes architectural drawings produced for the Imperial Court for iconic locations such as the Forbidden City and the Summer Palace, ancient manuscripts, and rare books and illustrated maps, most of which will be new to Australian audiences.
“This is the first time the National Library of Australia and the National Library of China have collaborated on an exhibition of such breadth and depth,” Ms Schwirtlich said.
“Visitors will see works on Chinese opera, art, calligraphy, religion, astronomy, government, Anglo-Chinese relations, travel and popular fiction.
“More significantly, visitors will experience China as it entered the modern age, with all the diversity of lived experience and cultural attainment brought vividly to life.”
Qing: Life in China, 1644 – 1911 will play an important role in expanding Canberra’s cultural ties with China, and specifically with Beijing, which has been Canberra’s sister city for 15 years.
“We are indebted to the National Library of China. Through its generosity, the Australian public will, for the first time, be able to view some of the treasures of Chinese cultural and literary heritage,” Ms Schwirtlich said.
While the exhibition will be free, time-ticketed bookings will be essential.