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Art Diary

The Forbidden City and the Palace of Versailles: Exchanges between China and France in the 17th and 18th Centuries

28 March 2024

Celebrating 60 years since the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and France, the Palace Museum in Beijing is playing host to a wide selection of artworks and objects from the Palace of Versailles (1 April­–30 June). This exhibition looks to the past, exploring a period between the late 17th and 18th centuries when the two nations shared particularly close ties, initiated through the dispatch of French Jesuits by Louis XIV to serve the Kangxi Emperor in 1685. More than 150 artworks, artefacts and objects drawn from both palace’s collections reveal how a symbiotic relationship between China and France heavily influenced art and design in the regions. Find out more from the Palace of Versailles’s website.

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Portrait of Yin Zhen (successor of Kangxi), Qing dynasty (1644–1911), artist unknown. Palace Museum, Beijing

La Foire de Nankin (The Fair of Nankin) (1761), Marie Leszczyńska. Château de Versailles. Photo: © dist. RMN-Grand Palais (Château de Versailles)

Pocket watch dating from the 17th century and probably given by Louis XIV to the Kangxi emperor. Palace Museum, Beijing