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Festival highlights Sino-French cooperation

By Fang Aiqing | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2024-04-02 14:59
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(From left) Stephane Sejourne, France's minister for Europe and foreign affairs, former FIA president Jean Todt and actress Michelle Yeoh at the opening ceremony of the 18th edition of Festival Croisements in Beijing on Monday. [Photo provided to China Daily]

An exhibition, featuring around 200 cultural artifacts from the era of interaction between the Chinese and French royal courts in the 17th and 18th centuries, kicked off at the Palace Museum in Beijing on Monday, marking the opening of the 18th edition of the Festival Croisements.

Entitled The Forbidden City and the Palace of Versailles: Exchanges Between China and France in the 17th and 18th Centuries, the exhibition is a key event for the China-France Year of Culture and Tourism, which celebrates the 60-year diplomatic bond between the two countries.

A gilt copper watch with a portrait of French King Louis XIV, most likely a gift from the French king to Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) Emperor Kangxi, is on display at the Palace Museum in Beijing. [Photo by Wang Kaihao/China Daily]

Highlighted exhibits, from the collections of the two museums, include a gilt copper watch with a portrait of French King Louis XIV, most likely a gift from the monarch to Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) Emperor Kangxi; a Chinese-style gilt silver coffee pot, a gift to King Louis XIV from the ambassadors of Siam (now Thailand); two pieces from Ten Tribute Horses, a booklet signed by French Jesuit painter and missionary Jean-Denis Attiret (1702-68); and a porcelain panel painting of Qing Emperor Qianlong, which was purchased by French King Louis XVI in 1776 and kept at the Palace of Versailles ever since.

The Palace Museum on Monday also signed a strategic cooperation agreement with the Palace of Versailles and the Guimet Museum, or the National Museum of Asian Arts, in Paris, and a cooperation agreement with luxury brand Cartier.

Launched in 2006, the Festival Croisements is dedicated to promoting exchanges and dialogue between Chinese and French art institutions and artists, presenting innovation and energy of their culture and art, and enhancing mutual understanding and friendship.

(From left) France's Ambassador to China Bertrand Lortholary, actress Michelle Yeoh and her husband, former FIA president Jean Todt, at the opening ceremony of the 18th edition of Festival Croisements in Beijing on Monday. [Photo provided to China Daily]

According to France's Ambassador to China Bertrand Lortholary, a variety of activities in fields such as the visual arts, crafts, theater, music and dance, cinema, digital technology and publication will be held in multiple cities across China as part of the festival that spans to the end of the year.

The number 60 marks a cycle in Chinese tradition. The unveiling new cycle will generate more collaboration and further promote cultural dialogues and mutual understanding between the two countries, says Lortholary.

(From left) Stephane Sejourne, France's minister for Europe and foreign affairs, former FIA president Jean Todt and actress Michelle Yeoh at the opening ceremony of the 18th edition of Festival Croisements in Beijing on Monday. [Photo provided to China Daily]

Croisements, meaning "crossover" in French, symbolizes mutual influence and connections between Chinese and French cultures, according to actress Michelle Yeoh and her husband, Jean Todt, former president of the International Automobile Federation (FIA) and who is now the UN secretary-general's special envoy for road safety, both the festival's ambassadors this year.

"The name reminds us of a rendezvous with destiny and cultures that reinforce each other, which is a reflection of our daily life, either of our career or personal life," the couple say, adding that they hope the festival will provide opportunity for discovering new art forms.

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