After seven years of surveying, staffs at the Forbidden City in Beijing have finally completed an inventory of the many treasures housed at this former Qing Dynasty (1644 -1911) palace. It revealed on Jan 26th that the museum has a total of 1,807,558 items in its collection.
"This is the first time that such a thorough survey of the treasures has been made since the museum was founded on Oct 10, 1925," said Chen Lihua, vice-dean of the museum, who has led the survey team since the project began in 2004. Although the museum's contents have previously been surveyed for four times, this is the first time that the exact figure of its treasures is found out.
Among the collections, 1,684,490 items are regarded as valuable cultural relics under State protection, while 115,491 are considered ordinary cultural relics and 7,577 are sample pieces of royal porcelain.
Based on the findings of this latest survey, the museum plans to publish a comprehensive catalogue of its collections over the next decade. An electronic version will be placed on the museum's website later by scholars and the general public. Earlier this month, the museum began to publish catalogues of its treasures, which fell into 26 categories and were expected to run into 500 volumes. This whole project may take 10 to 15 years to be completed.