Forbidden Paradise in Milwaukee


I went with a friend to the Milwaukee Museum of Art for their The Emperor’s Private Paradise exhibit which features furnishings, sculptures, decorative arts and paintings from the Qing dynasty when Emperor Qianlong ruled (from 1736-1796).

We were able to join the noon time gallery talk which greatly enhanced the experience. I learned about this wise yet ruthless ruler, who presided over the largest country at it’s zenith in terms of wealth and power. (Who knows what the future will bring?)

I also learned about the symbolism like the three friends of winter (bamboo, pine and plum trees) and how the Chinese painters learned to do trompe l’oeil from the Jesuits who went to China in the 18th Century. The gallery itself had life size photos on the walls of the gardens and buildings in which the articles were kept so that you really felt you were in the Forbidden Palace.

I wish I could have taken some photos, but that’s forbidden.

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