The Forbidden City located in the center of Beijing is the ancient palace of the emperors of China. It dates from 1406, for the beginning of the construction, and was completed after 14 years. The Forbidden City was designed and built in a way that typifies traditional Chinese palatial architecture, with the emphasis on articulation and bilateral symmetry to signify balance. Ancient Chinese architecture is an important component of the world architectural system. During its long development, it gradually formed into a style that featured earthwork combining masonry, scaffolding, carpentry, tilework, painting, decorative painting, and papering, which are called the “Eight Great Crafts”. In 2008, “Official Ancient Architecture Construction Skills” was included in the national intangible cultural heritage.
The year 2020 marks the 600th anniversary of the completion of the Forbidden City. How can we begin our exploration of 600 years of history contained in such an architecture? The micro-documentary “The Eight Great Crafts: The Construction Techniques of the Forbidden City”, provides us with the answer. This documentary on the “official architectural craft of the Ming and the Qing dynasties” is produced by the Palace Museum and has 8 episodes. Through 5-minute content in each episode, the documentary presents the techniques and application examples of eight great crafts including earthwork, masonry, scaffolding, carpentry, tilework, painting, decorative painting and papering. It also introduces the “time” and “space” of the Forbidden City’s history and culture and showcases the highest realm of a perfect combination of palatial architecture art and technology and the endless charisma of China’s outstanding traditional culture.
In collaboration with The Palace Museum, China Cultural Centre in Sydney will launch the micro-documentary, The Eight Great Crafts on our official website in May, to raise awareness across the Australian community of the Forbidden City, and highlight the cultural connotation of this 600-year-old ancient building.