In December 2016, Durham University and China’s Palace Museum signed an agreement, bringing together these two world-renowned centres of research and cultural excellence for the first time. The agreement, which is the first between the Palace Museum and an English university, builds on Durham University’s already strong links with China.
The new partnership has developed from research currently being undertaken between the University’s Department of Archaeology and experts from the Palace Museum in Beijing, into early examples of Chinese pottery and porcelain found in Europe, Africa and West Asia. The research aims to reveal more about the trading history of China as far back as the tenth Century AD.
The agreement has seen academics from the Department of Archaeology working closely with experts at the Palace Museum on shared areas of research. One of the highlights of the collaboration was a joint excavation conducted within the Forbidden City, which brought together archaeologists from both Durham University and the Palace Museum.
Curators at the Oriental Museum have also had the opportunity to collaborate with colleagues in Beijing, contributing to international symposia and academic publications in China. In addition, the Oriental Museum was recently an important lender to the Palace Museum’s major international exhibition, ‘Longquan of the World: Longquan Celadon and Globalisation’, which was held in the Hall for Abstinence (Zhai gong) of the Palace of Great Benevolence (Jingren gong) during 2019.