The exhibition tells about the lives of empresses of the Qing Dynasty, offering a fascinating story of wealth and influence. Here are royal portraits, paintings depicting court life, seals and symbols of imperial power, Buddhist sutras and other religious objects, as well as costumes, decorations, dishes and furniture used by empresses in the imperial complex known as the Forbidden City.
The importance of empresses in shaping the history of Qing is described with the help of objects created for them and about them. The exhibition breaks the stereotypes that they are just charming or subordinate wife. Instead, these women traveled frequently, rode horses and performed many royal duties, from a dynamic role in the imperial family to praise as the “Mother of the State”. Many empresses expressed ambitions, demonstrated intelligence, and some challenged the protocol, even the tradition of "women should not rule." The exhibition allows us to see how the empresses influenced art, religion, politics and diplomacy.
Most of these works of art are from the Palace Museum, and many of them have never been exhibited outside of China. This unusual exhibition is organized the Peabody Museum in Essex, Massachusetts; The Freer - Sackler Gallery in Washington, DC andThe Palace Museum in Beijing, China.