"Story of a Brand Name - The Collection and Packaging Aesthetics of the Qing Emperor Qianlong" is a special exhibition dedicated to exploring Emperor Qianlong's collecting and packaging of artworks. The exhibition selects from art objects, paintings, calligraphy works, and rare books to demonstrate the taste in art and interaction between the Qianlong emperor and his collection. Each artwork was stored in custom-made cases, and new creations with contemporary characters came into being from this process. The achievements of the Qianlong emperor correspond to the modern concepts of product innovations and brand establishment. It might thus be fruitful to reconsider the connection between new templates produced in the eighteenth century and the original imperial collection through the lens of the creation of a 'Brand of Qianlong'. The numerous remarkable storage methods also exemplify the art of packaging and artistic creativity.
The exhibition is divided into four sections. The first is entitled "Open the Treasure Box" to begin the dialogue of the entire exhibition. The abundance and diversity of the various artworks conjoined in the "Hundred-item" curio box indicate that the imperial collection came from all places; the extensiveness of time and place beyond imagination. "Beloved Antiques" is the second section and explores the journey of the Qianlong emperor's connoisseurship and how he examined artworks through historical research. The third section, "Adored Precious", documents the process in which Qianlong emperor organized the Qing court's collection through the alternative use of new and recycled cases. The section also shows how storage ideas and decoration aesthetics were generated along the process. The final part, "the Brand of Qianlong", aims to explore how Qianlong combined old and new elements to create a hallmark and express his intention to transcend the boundaries between the past and present, by contrasting antiques and new innovations.
This exhibition intends to reflect on the branding trend nowadays and to stimulate boundless creativities by exploring creative packaging from the eighteenth century, and also reconsider the way the collection reflected the emperor's image by studying how the emperor established his individual brand name.