'I Sleep and Watch'
Observing places that affect imagination, memory and perception.
Saturday, 24 January 2015
Empress' Chinese Museum, Fontainebleu
The Chinese Museum and the Salon were redesigned in 1863 to display the Empress Eugenie's collection of Oriental treasures. Many of the objects were acquired by Napoleon III and Eugenie from the sack and burning of the Summer Palace of the Manchu emperors near Beijing in 1860 by French and British troops as reprisal for the torture and murder of envoys under a prearranged truce.When it came to sharing the spoils "the army spontaneously expressed a wish that all the precious objects from the Imperial Palace should be sent as a gift to Her Majesty the Empress who had placed the expedition under her patronage, providing the necessary items for treating the sick and wounded." The Empress is said to have been present when the crates containing somewhere between six and eight hundred jade, porcelain and bronze objects were opened. These items were added to the collection that also includes gifts from the ambassador of the King of Siam who visited Fontainbleu in 1861, Japanese and Tibetan objects and other Chinese items confiscated from aristocratic families during the Revolution. the Museum maintains the arrangements devised by the Empress herself.
Tibetan stupa with its statuette of Buddha from the Summer Palace