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Master craftsmanship in the Forbidden City

Xinhua | Updated: 2017-01-02 15:05

Master craftsmanship in the Forbidden City

"Masters in the Forbidden City", a documentary series that profiled the work of the museum conservationists, became a surprise online hit. It has racked up over six million views and scored an impressive rating of 9.5/10 on a major video-streaming website in China.[Photo/IC]

Working in the Palace Museum where visitors are constantly told not to touch the invaluable cultural artifacts, Qu Feng spends every day in restoring treasures dating back hundreds of years.

Qu works for the Palace Museum's conservation department, which is responsible for the conservation, restoration and research of over 1.8 million cultural treasures.

Stories of treasured Chinese antiques and artifacts given a new lease of life emerge constantly from his busy department.

Qu and his colleagues are now better known as the "masters in the Forbidden City."

Masters in the Forbideen City 

Qu, head of the department's wood conservation studio, is working on a piece called "Plum Recess," a wooden plaque inlaid with gold wire and two jade characters.

The plaque, made during Emperor Qianlong's reign (1736-1795), once hung inside the Forbidden City's Hall of Mental Cultivation, where emperors of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) resided and handled state affairs.

When the hall was closed for a four-year renovation, the plaque was removed for conservation.

Some of the plaque's jade had fallen off; sticking it back proved far more difficult than anyone expected.

Qu had to use a special type of wax, made of beewax and rosin, as other adhesives could corrode the jade over time. The recipe to produce this special wax had once been lost, and the museum depended exclusively on the wax it had in stock.

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