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October 7, 2009updated Jul 31, 2015

Cartier Treasures Exhibition on Display at the Palace Museum in Beijing, China

By Pardhasaradhi Gonuguntla

A new exhibition, “Cartier Treasures: King of Jewelers, Jewelers to Kings” is now on display at the Palace Museum in Beijing until November 22nd. Featuring precious antiques on an unprecedented scale, the exhibition assembles the essences of the East and West, demonstrating the Palace Museum’s dedication to world art.

This exceptional display will take place in the Exhibition Hall of the Meridian Gate, whose recent renovation won the Inaugural Heritage Award Jury Commendation for Innovation by UNESCO for the quality of the resources and techniques implemented, all of which were in harmony with the building’s original character. More than 350 items, including archives dating from the founding of Cartier to its creations from the 1970s, will be unveiled. Partly dedicated to royal jewels, the exhibition will be housed in China’s former Imperial Palace and will be illustrated by historical documents relating to European royal courts, which earned Cartier thanks to King Edward VII of England, its reputation as the “Jeweler of Kings and King of Jewelers.” Moreover, part of the items selected highlight the Chinese influence on Cartier creations: lacquer ware inlaid with mother-of-pearl, ancient carved and engraved pieces of jade, and divinities and fantastic animals created by the jeweler’s hand. Such creations bear witness to the bonds that have united Cartier with the Far East since the beginning of the 20th century. The distinctive creativity, style and expertise of the jeweler are illustrated by a selection of drawings and archive documents, together with a set of rarely displayed plaster casts from the Cartier archives. The related experts of Palace Museum have celebrated the cultural and artistic aspects of Cartier, as well as its contribution to the heritage of the decorative arts.

Inaugurated a quarter of a century ago, the Cartier Collection today comprises more than 1,360 historic pieces that mirror the social evolution and which have been repurchased over the years by Cartier from private owners or at public auctions. Inventoried using original archive documents, the items in the Cartier Collection include sumptuous jewelry, precious watches and exceptional timepieces, such as the Maison’s famous mystery clocks. Exquisite articles and more specific accessories complete this cultural legacy: ladies’ vanity cases, decorated boxes, cigarette cases and writing instruments. Exhibiting articles from the Cartier Collection at the Palace Museum in China is part of an ongoing cultural exchange between the Parisian jeweler, based in the Rue de la Paix, and the Palace Museum.

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