Emperor Qianlong


Emperor Qianlong'The Connoisseur'

(b. 1711 - d. 1799)

"Loving the people should start from cutting taxes and exempting from rents."



About Emperor  Qianlong

He so admired his grandfather Emperor Kangxi's 61-year reign that he vowed he would not reign longer, and stepped down after 60 years on the throne. Nearly six feet tall and slender well into his old age, Emperor Qianlong is chronicled as a true athlete and scholar. Under his rule, the Chinese empire reached its widest limits. He wrote both prose and poetry, sponsored a compilation of Chinese Classics, and patronized the development of painting, porcelain, and more. 

Qianlong was the fifth emperor of the Qing dynasty, reigning from 1735-96. His father was Emperor Yongzheng. Like his father and grandfather before him, he was fascinated with Western style; however, his extravagance and military expedition costs seriously depleted the Chinese treasury, weakening the empire for a long time.

Within the Forbidden City

Like other Emperors, Qianlong had access to every part of the Forbidden City. His legacy saw the building of lavish gardens, including the private Palace of Tranquil Longevity where the royal family enjoyed leisure time with tea parties, opera performances and more. Truly "forbidden" one could not enter unless invited, and accompanied by the emperor himself...

Palace of Tranquil Longevity

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Related Objects

chicken cupChicken Cup
This cup is one of the most exquisite and rare of Ming porcelain wares. Made in the imperial kilns at Jingdezhen for the court of Emperor Chenghua (r.1465-1487), it depicts two scenes featuring a family of chickens. Emperor Qianlong so admired the cup, he praised it in a poem he wrote. Today, only two original Chenghua chicken cups remain in the Palace Museum.


Book of Emperor Qianlong's poemsBook of Emperor Qianlong's poems, Series 1, Volume 2
Emperor Qianlong produced more than 41,000 poems and essays, and his early works covered a wide range of subjects, from descriptions of landscapes to narrations on paintings and other artworks.



TeapotTea Pot
Emperor Qianlong loved tea so much that he wrote poems on his favourite tea wares. One panel on this teapot contains a poem he wrote in 1742, illustrating the mood of the scene depicted on the opposite side.



BellsBell set
As Emperor Qianlong arrived and departed from grand ceremonies in the courtyard, these bells would ring out in a mellow and mystical song. This set was made in the 29th year of his reign





Emperor Qianlong Viewing PaintingsEmperor Qianlong Viewing Paintings
One of the few court paintings that shows the actual architecture of The Forbidden City, this bird's-eye view's amazing detail captures many complex architectural elements.