The Palace Museum in Beijing is presenting "Cartier Treasures: King of Jewelers, Jewelers to Kings" exhibition from now through November 22, 2009. The Museum's recent renovation won the Inaugural Heritage Jury Commendation for Innovation Award by UNESCO for the quality of resources and techniques implemented, all of which are in harmony with the building's original character.
More than 350 items, dating from the founding of Cartier to its creations from the 1970's are on display. Partly dedicated to royal jewels, the exhibition illustrates historical documents relating to European royal courts, which earned Cartier its reputation as the "King of Jewelers, Jewelers to Kings."
Moreover, many of the items highlight the Chinese influence on Cartier creations: lacquer ware inlaid with mother-of-pearl, ancient carved and engraved pieces of jade and divinities, and animals created by the jeweler's hand. The distinctive creativity, style and expertise of the jeweler are illustrated by a selection of drawings, archive documents and rarely displayed plaster casts from the Cartier archives.
The related experts of Palace Museum celebrate the cultural and artistic aspects of Cartier for its contribution to the heritage of the decorative arts. Some of the world's greatest museums already paid tribute to this distinctive dimension, including: the Petit Palais in Paris (1989), the State Hermitage Museum in Saint Petersburg (1992), the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York (1997), the British Museum in London (1997-1998), the Museo del Palacio de Bellas Artes in Mexico City (1999), the Field Museum in Chicago (1999-2000), the Shanghai Museum (2004), and most recently the Kremlin Museums in Moscow (2007), the Deoksugung Museum of Seoul (2008), and the Tokyo National Museum in Japan (2009).
Inaugurated a quarter of a century ago, the Cartier Collection today consist of more than 1,360 historic pieces that mirror the social evolution, which have been repurchased over the years by Cartier from private owners or at public auctions. The items in the Cartier Collection include: sumptuous jewelry, precious watches and exceptional timepieces, such as the Maison's famous mystery clocks, ladies' vanity cases, decorated boxes, cigarette cases, writing instruments, and more exquisite articles complete this cultural legacy.
Exhibiting the articles from the Cartier Collection at the Palace Museum in China is part of an ongoing cultural exchange between the Parisian jeweler and the Palace Museum, which exhibited the monumental Golden Pot created by artist Jean-Pierre Raynaud. This superb piece of art was commissioned by the Fondation Cartier Pour l'art Contemporain and exhibited in the Forbidden City in 1996.