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Early Ming Dynasty relics exhibited in Beijing

The Palace Museum has assembled some of the finest imperial art relics from the first 33 years of 15th Century China for the first time ever.

Exhibited at the Forbidden City, 150 exquisite pieces are providing a chance for today's connoisseurs to experience the cultural prosperity of yesteryear.

These imperial art pieces from the early Ming Dynasty are the models that followers have tried to copy and surpass for centuries.

Lu Chenglong, deputy director of Palace Museum Antique Department, said, "For instance, even two and half centuries later, in the early Qing Dynasty, a great deal of craftsmen were copying the models of the early Ming Dynasty. If you pay a visit to China's porcelain town, Jingdezhen, you'll still find many copies of Ming porcelain. The first 33 years of the 1400s had a big influence on the development of the country's art."

The first 33 years of the 15th Century are called the Yongxuan Era. The period refers to the reign of Ming Emperor Yongle, who is often compared to Peter the Great, Hongxi, and Xuande. Despite lasting just 33 years, the time laid the cultural, political, and physical foundations that would sustain China for centuries to come.

Viewed alone, each of the 150 antiques is a fragment that brings to life the history of an era when cultural openness was widely encouraged. Various elements like Islam, Mongolian culture, and Tibetan Buddhism are all showcased.

To better protect the legacy, the show is open to as many as 200 visitors at one time.