How a Chinese imperial garden was restored

Listen to a presentation on how a splendid imperial garden in the Forbidden City in China that was destroyed in a fire nearly 90 years ago, was restored to its former glory

In June 1923, a year after the Last Chinese Emperor Pu-Yi was married, a fire destroyed portions of the Palace of Established Happiness, a royal garden built within the Forbidden City in the 18th century. Located in the northwest precinct of the Forbidden City, the palace garden was the first to be built by Chinese emperor Qianlong in 1742. Qianlong went on to build several other gardens within as well as outside the Forbidden City.

An aerial view of the Palace of Established Happiness
An aerial view of the Palace of Established Happiness

The fire is considered as the second most dramatic event in the living history of the Forbidden City (the first being the expulsion of the last emperor Pu-Yi from the Forbidden City a year later) largely because it revealed the corrupt dealings and looting of antiquities by the Palace Household Department and eunuchs, and thus, caused their expulsion from the Forbidden City.

The palace garden was recently restored to its full glory by a team of heritage conservationists, led by the Chinese Heritage Fund (CHF). Now, offering a detailed look into this special project is Happy Harun, project director of CHF.

Based in Beijing, Harun, who was part of the project from the beginning, will be presenting a special talk and presentation on how CHF went about the re-construction of the Palace of Established Happiness and other parts of the Forbidden City, a heritage site in China. The talk will also look at the technologies available and the need for restoration of heritage sites.

On: March 19, 6 pm
At: National Gallery of Modern Art, Sir Cowasji Jehangir Public Hall, MG Road, Fort. 
Call: 22881969

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