Within Beijing's Forbidden City complex—a vast museum in its own right—sits the Antiquarium of the Palace Museum. With a collection of paintings, clocks, pottery, furniture, bronze, and jade statuary, some artifacts date to the days when Qing emperors roamed the halls. A must-visit for anyone interested in the last imperial dynasty in China.
Time at this museum allows a peek at the possessions of past Chinese emperors, giving you an idea of their enormous wealth and status. Don’t miss the Nine Dragon Screen, a colorful glazed brick wall that is one of three of similar styles in China. Other exhibits worth seeing are the Treasure Gallery and the Clock Exhibition Hall. Many guided tours of the Forbidden City include the museum, as well as perks like skip-the-line access and round-trip transportation.
Things to Know Before You Go
- This museum is a must-see for history buffs and those interested in royal imperial life.
- Admission to the museum requires a ticket separate from the entrance fee to the Forbidden City.
- Some areas of the museum offer barrier-free access for wheelchairs.
How to Get There
You'll find the Antiquarium of the Palace Museum on the eastern side of the Forbidden City. The galleries are housed in the buildings to the east and west of the Meridian Gate entrance. The nearest subway stop is Tiananmen East Station.
When to Get There
With millions of visitors passing through the gates of the Forbidden City each day, it’s a good idea to get an early start and arrive first thing in the morning for your visit. Purchasing tickets in advance is suggested since the number of visitors allowed into the Forbidden City is capped each day. Head directly to the museum, and you’ll have time to enjoy the collection in peace. The Palace is closed Mondays.
Hall of Clocks
The Hall of Clocks is a visitor favorite at this museum. It's home to one of the world’s largest collections of 18th- and 19th-century timepieces. Interestingly, most of these ornate clocks were actually made in Great Britain.