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Caihua, or "colour painting", is the traditional Chinese decorative painting or polychrome used for architecture and one of the most notable and important features of historical Chinese architecture. It held a significant artistic and practical role within the development of East-Asian architecture, as Caihua served not only decoration but also protection of the predominantly wooden architecture from various seasonal elements and hid the imperfections of the wood itself. The use of different colours or paintings would be according to the particular building functions and local regional customs, as well as historical periods. The choice of colours and symbology are based on traditional Chinese philosophies of the Five Elements and other ritualistic principles. The Caihua is often separated into three layer structures; timber or lacquer layer, plaster layer, and pigment layer.

Caisson (Asian architecture)

The caisson also referred to as a caisson ceiling, or spider web ceiling, in East Asian architecture is an architectural feature typically found in the ceiling of temples and palaces, usually at the centre and directly above the main throne, seat, or religious figure. The caisson is generally a sunken panel set into the ceiling. It is often layered and richly decorated. Common shapes include squares, octagons, hexagons, circles, and a combination of these.

 The lattice door in Ming and Qing was renamed 'partition door'. Generally speaking, those which could be opened or closed were called 'doors', and fixed ones were called 'partitions'. Such terms were applied to interior decoration and external decoration alike. Compared with lattice doors in Song times, the structure of the partition door in Ming and Qing dynasties was more complicated, but the manufacturing principle remained unchanged. 


Forbidden Windows are flat ornate Chinese-themed building elements consisting of a wine-red lattice and a golden frame. They behave like windows in Creativerse, in terms of being able to auto-connect to other Forbidden Windows (but not to any other windows nor lattices).


The Palace Museum collection of jewelry consists of articles personally owned and worn by Qing empresses and concubines. These pieces were originally crafted by the Qing imperial workshops (Zaoban chu) and preserved by the Imperial Household Department’s Storage Office (Guangchu si). The elegant articles were all finely crafted with precious metals and countless gems. Furthermore, various designs and styles represent a strictly defined ranking system among the palace women.


Tian-tsui, "dotting with kingfishers" is a style of Chinese art featuring kingfisher feathers. For 2,000 years, the Chinese have been using the iridescent blue feathers of kingfisher birds as an inlay for fine art objects and adornment, from hairpins, headdresses, and fans to panels and screens. While Western art collectors have focused on other areas of Chinese art including porcelainlacquer ware, sculpture, cloisonnésilk and paintings, kingfisher art is relatively unknown outside of China.


The term "mosaic" describes the embedding of one or more objects—whose characteristics vary—into another object. A decorative pattern is created by inserting gold and silver and leveraging the contrast between them and the color of the bronze to create grooves on the surface of copper objects when casting bronze objects. The majority of objects with gold and silver interlacing and inlays are constructed of bronze with gold and silver ornamentation, but this method had a significant influence on later manufacture of gold and silver objects. The mosaic method, also known as embedding precious stones, pearls, etc. into gold and silver-based kitchenware, were widely utilized in the Tang Dynasty. These items are referred to in literature as "baodian" and "tian" meaning mosaic. This strategy is still in use today.


Chinese jade refers to the jade mined or carved in China from the Neolithic onward. It is the primary hardstone of Chinese sculpture. Although deep and bright green jadeite is better known in Europe, for most of China's history, jade has come in a variety of colors and white "mutton-fat" nephrite was the most highly praised and prized. Native sources in Henan and along the Yangtze were exploited since prehistoric times and have largely been exhausted; most Chinese jade today is extracted from the northwestern province of Xinjiang.


The Palace Museum is renowned across China and around the world for the largest collection of enamels with metal substrates—usually consisting of bronze with some bases consisting of gold, silver, or a composite. Over 6,000 metal-substrate enamels in the collection date from the Yuan dynasty to the Republican period. Of these works, over 4,000 enamels include filigree embellishments, and over 2,000 are enamel-painted pieces. The majority of these items were produced by either the imperial workshops in the capital (the Directorate for Imperial Accoutrements workshop—Yuyong jian—in the Ming dynasty and the Imperial Household Department workshops—Zaoban chu—in the Qing) or in Guangdong Province.


Ceramics constitute approximately 350,000 pieces of the Palace Museum’s collection. Additionally, the Museum’s researchers have collected over 30,000 ceramic shards from over 150 historical kilns around China. The collection also includes several thousand related artifacts. These pieces comprehensively reflect the continuous development of Chinese ceramics throughout the past 8,000 years. Notably, the collection includes ceramics from the five great kilns of the Song dynasty and the imperial kilns of the Ming and Qing dynasties (1368-1911). Second to none, these holdings represent the greatest quantity of exquisite ceramics in the world.

Textile with Floral Medallion

The “treasure floral medallion” on this textile is one of the most popular designs of the Tang dynasty. The design, which consists of a composite blossom at center surrounded by a quatrefoil pattern on the four sides, is used not only in textiles but also in metalwork and ceramics. Its structured rendering reflects West and Central Asian artistic traditions introduced to China via the fabled Silk Road.


The manufacture of brocade began during the Warring States period of China. Many products of brocade have been found in tombs of the era. Several distinct styles of brocade have been developed in China, the most famous being Yunjin (Cloud brocade) of Nanjing, Song brocade of Suzhou, and Shu brocade of Chengdu.


Chinese boxes are a set of boxes of graduated size, each fitting inside the next larger box. A traditional style in Chinese design, nested boxes have proved a popular packaging option in the West for novelty or display reasons. Chinese nested boxes have inspired similar forms of packaging around the world, but also have found use as a figurative description, providing an illustrative example to demonstrate situations of conceptually nested or recursive arrangements. In literature, a Chinese box structure refers to a frame narrative,where a novel or drama is told in the form of a narrative inside a narrative (and so on), giving views from different perspectives. 


The imperial court was decorated with colorful lanterns for the Spring Festival. In the Forbidden City, the areas with the most lanterns were the Palace of Heavenly Purity (Qianqing gong) and the area around the Hall of Imperial Supremacy (Huangji dian). The Qing-dynasty (1644–1911) court stipulated five lanterns for the Gate of Heavenly Purity (Qianqing men), one each for the Gate of Solar Essence (Rijing men) and the Gate of Lunar Essence (Yuehua men), nine for hanging under the eaves of the Palace of Heavenly Purity, 136 for the colonnades, and 194 for the columns of the balustrades. Lanterns displayed in the palace were more finely crafted than those used by commoners; with an ornamented finial, imperial lanterns were embellished with tassels on four sides and at the base.


The Palace Museum collection of Ming and Qing furniture includes over 10,000 pieces. Of this quantity, over 300 articles are from the Ming dynasty. A comprehensive collection of Qing dynasty furniture consists of beds, couches, chairs, stools, tables, chests, cabinets, screens, and thrones. Additionally, the collection includes approximately 500 Japanese and Western articles of furniture.

Timepieces and Instruments

The Palace Museum’s holdings of timepieces reflect the flourishing age of Chinese and Western cultural exchange during the Ming and Qing dynasties (1368-1911). Over 1,500 Chinese and European timepieces ranging from the seventeenth to twentieth century constitute the collection. These holdings also include over 700 scientific instruments manufactured in England, France, and the Qing palace workshops that date from the early-Qing to late-Qing periods. The collection encompasses a wide range of period instruments from fields such as astronomy, mathematics, and earth sciences. Frequently used in Qing palace affairs, these instruments reflect technological exchange and development within the imperial establishment.


The Forbidden City is a palace complex in Dongcheng District, Beijing, China, at the center of the Imperial City of Beijing. It is surrounded by numerous opulent imperial gardens and temples including the 22 ha (54-acre) Zhongshan Park, the sacrificial Imperial Ancestral Temple, the 69 ha (171-acre) Beihai Park, and the 23 ha (57-acre) Jingshan Park.The Forbidden City was constructed from 1406 to 1420, and was the former Chinese imperial palace and winter residence of the Emperor of China from the Ming dynasty (since the Yongle Emperor) to the end of the Qing dynasty, between 1420 and 1924. The Forbidden City served as the home of Chinese emperors and their households and was the ceremonial and political center of the Chinese government for over 500 years. Since 1925, the Forbidden City has been under the charge of the Palace Museum, whose extensive collection of artwork and artifacts were built upon the imperial collections of the Ming and Qing dynasties. The Forbidden City was declared a World Heritage Site in 1987.

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