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The Arts Intel Report

A Cultural Compass
For the World Traveler
A Cultural Compass
For the World Traveler

The Forbidden City and the Palace of Versailles

A portrait of the Emperor Kangxi in court dress.

Until June 30
4 Jingshan Front St, Dongcheng, Beijing, China, 100009

Beijing’s Forbidden City and the Palace of Versailles have both been subjects of endless speculation. What secrets are harbored within their walls? As it turns out, Emperor Kangxi and Louis XIV engaged in diplomatic relations. In 1686, when ambassadors from the King of Siam brought Chinese objects to Versailles, it piqued the French court’s interest in the Far East. Hence, in 1688, French Jesuit priests traveled to China and joined the court of Peking as mathematicians to the emperor. A relationship based on mutual trust would endure through the end of the 18th century. This fascinating exhibition looks at the birth of modern sinology in France while illuminating the two courts in their diplomatic dance. —Elena Clavarino

Photo: Beijing, Palace Museum/© D-R

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