这是一个拼创意的时代。为了让更多人了解其丰富的文化遗产,北京故宫也是蛮拼的,不仅为自己设计了吉祥物,还开起了网店,走上卖萌路线,文化创意产品层出不穷,连故宫掌门人单霁翔也说“脑洞大开”。 今天,就让我们来盘点一下故宫的创意和“脑洞”。



文创产品:Creative Cultural Products

The Palace Museum has been making efforts to change its solemn and dull image. One of its initiatives is new souvenirs that are fun and cute, and marry historical minutiae with modern sensibilities and technologies. The creative cultural products, which are sold through the museum's Taobao store, have become a big hit with netizens. To name just a few:



*Beaded earbuds


The much-talked about beaded earphones, priced at RMB120, mimic the beads worn by officials attending the royal court during the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911). A netizen said wearing it while working gives the illusion that you yourself are an emperor reviewing files submitted by subordinates.



*Official's hat parasol


The sun umbrella resembles the headgear worn by Qing ministers serving the imperial court. When unfolded, it hovers above one's head like an official's hat to hilarious effect.



*Fan inscribed with the words of Emperor Yongzheng


The seven characters inscribed on the fan are taken from a letter that Emperor Yongzheng wrote to a subordinate, Tian Wenjing. Written in plain language - a departure from the high affectation expected of emperors - the characters read: "That's the kind of guy I am." The fan has been praised for being both imperial and imperious.



"In the past, the cultural products of the Forbidden City were basically replicas of cultural relics, which were unappealing to the younger generation", said Shan Jixiang, director of the Palace Museum. In order to reach new customers, the museum monitored the trends on new media and recruited new talent in this field. The idea is to communicate with people, to connect innovative minds and cultural heritage with people's practical needs and tastes, and to persuade visitors to "take the Palace Museum home", according to Shan.


The museum is also trying to stand out from tourist attractions, where visitors often find the same souvenirs all over the country. "We want the souvenirs to have a direct link to the Palace Museum. No matter how small a piece is, it should be well made and meaningful," said Shan. The beaded earphones, for example, not only help people appreciate the crossover of historical culture and modern technology, but they also allow them to observe details such as how many beads there were in a necklace accessorizing court dress during the Qing Dynasty.


The Palace Museum opened its online store on Taobao in 2008. To date, the palace offers over 6,700 types of souvenirs. According to Shan, income last year from such innovative products exceeded RMB600m. Shan predicted the income this year will surpass RMB900m. The museum will launch an online shopping mall on Jan 1.



@萱萱XCH:With its precious cultural heritage, the Palace Museum is more than able to develop relevant cultural products.


@一善微尘滚滚乐:I'd rather have something more primitive or more stylish. These products are simply too market-oriented.


@我是一条黑粗柴:It's nice to combine historical and modern culture together. Kudos.


@牧讷讷:Most scenic spots fail to produce distinctive souvenirs, so I am all for these. I hope all such places can come up with something as creative.




穿越:Time Traveling

Tourists are taking pictures in front of Yanxi Hall. Beside them, Puyi, the last emperor of the Qing Dynasty, is playing with his pocket watch. A tourist is making phone calls inside the Xishang Pavilion in the imperial garden, while a few steps away, Empress Wanrong is leaning against the railing along the stone steps, smiling...



“高冷”故宫的萌系路线     These images are from a set of pictures showing old photos of the Forbidden City blended with current scenes that has gone viral online, drawing numerous comments. The photos, published by the Forbidden City magazine run by the Palace Museum, have been lauded for their ingenuity.  




The photos were the brainchild of the Forbidden City magazine staff, who wanted to let readers "travel through time" and feel the dramatic changes that have taken place over the years, so that they may savor the cultural connotations of history in a more meaningful way.


The old images, taken between 1922 and 1924, were selected from a collection of over 40,000 photos that capture the life of Puyi's family in the palace. With the help of experts, who pinpointed the exact time and place of the pictures, magazine staff were able to make the project go smoothly. They adopted a popular technique of combining old pictures with current scenes, using the sharp contrast to convey the intensity of history.





@阳光时代马球:Something has broken the boundary of time and space, and shown itself in these pictures.


@乐俩千金:By the next century, we will not exist, but the Forbidden City will still be there. Life is so tiny compared with time.


@默語尋洲:There is seemingly one step between you in the picture and me in reality, but the truth is, we are a time and space away from each other.


@小小土豆麻麻:Can't say what the feeling is. A bit spooky.





新媒体:New Media

In October, the Palace Museum developed an app, "One Day in the Life of the Emperor", which allows children to experience life as a Qing Dynasty ruler. It mixes interactive games and general knowledge of the museum in an eye-catching way. Using the first-person perspective of a child emperor in the Qing Dynasty, it follows a day in his life in the Palace. More than 200 missions are designed on the app.


This is not the museum's first attempt at new media, it also released an iPad app, "Twelve Beauties of Prince Yong", in 2013 to explain several traditional Chinese paintings with ornate interfaces and interactive games. "Auspicious Symbols in the Forbidden City", its second app, was released in June. It explains the cultural connotations of the royal collections with a simple but elegant interface.



Many of the world's top museums have developed their own smartphone apps in recent years to better guide visitors and present their exhibits. But most merely introduce information, the staff of the Palace Museum information center said, and they wished to make full use of new media to explore a more dynamic and interactive method to spread Chinese culture. The apps have earned wide acclaim since their debut. The museum now plans to open 3 digital museums and release 3 apps in 2015.



@报刊文摘:The Palace Museum is very good at using new media and approach historical culture in an agreeable and easy way. That's something we need to learn from.


@北京曹雪芹学会: A very sophisticated app. It explores the elegant life of noble women in the Qing Dynasty by exhibiting the 12 beauties paintings.


@bazingazhou:It's so exquisite and beautiful. Please develop more apps like this in the future, so as to make people better understand the Forbidden City and nurture their passion for our history.





动图:Flash Animation

In August, the Palace Museum published a well-received post entitled "Yongzheng: I Feel So Cute about Myself" on WeChat. Based on the "Paintings of Amusement of Emperor Yongzheng", the collection of nine flash animations shows the emperor engaged in activities such as playing an instrument under a pine tree, fighting a tiger or fishing in a river.


The animations not only "revive" the ancient emperor, they also breathe some fresh life into him. In one of the animations, for example, Yongzheng sits on a riverbank washing his feet addressed in the daily outfit of ordinary people. From time to time, he raises one foot to scratch the calf of his other leg and the caption reads, "My feet itch."



  "My feet itch."   “朕……脚痒……”


"My calligrapy is perfect. Have you all bought my manuscripts?"   “朕的字极佳。话说朕的抄经本诸位都买了吗?”  


"Sometimes I just want to be a handsome man and be alone."



Simple replicas of cultural relics, despite their embodiment of history, lack the vitality to appeal to people today, especially younger generations, according to the Palace Museum. The staff thus used digital techniques to activate the static figure in the vintage paintings. And they added a touch of humor using funny captions to make the animations even more appealing to young people. The animated versions of Yongzheng paintings have drawn more than 800,000 clicks since they were launched online.



@JIaGerr:When I saw the original painting, I felt sad for the Emperor Yongzheng who worked so hard and had little amusement. But after I saw the flash animations, I suddenly felt the emperor was so goofy and cute...


@西瓜慢慢在成长:Even though the emperor owned the whole nation, maybe he just wanted to enjoy life like ordinary people.


@墨羽在飞:Haha, this is definitely the cutest Yongzheng I've ever seen.


(本期英文内容由英籍编辑P. Marlowe润色。)


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