Treasures of Himalayan Art: The Zhiguan Museum of Fine Art
LI HUANG WAI
Founder, Zhiguan Museum
Translated by Guoying Stacy Zhang
FOUNDED IN 2016, the Zhiguan Museum of Fine Art is located at 12 Jinyu Hutong, Dongcheng District, Beijing. The site was where the famed Xianliang Monastery (Monastery of the Worthy and the Virtuous) was historically situated and affords a view of the Forbidden City, the former imperial palace. Having a long-standing connection with Buddhism, this place also had a thriving cultural scene where many luminaries and dignitaries met.
The original architectural compound was constructed at the end of the Ming dynasty (1368–1644), and in the Qing dynasty (1644–1911), it served as the mansion of Yunxiang (168–-1730), the thirteenth son of the Kangxi emperor. After the conclusion of the lengthy Kangxi reign, when the Yongzheng emperor ascended the throne in 1722, he bestowed on Yunxiang the title “Prince Yi” and named his mansion “Residence of Prince Yi”. When Yunxiang passed away, the Yongzheng emperor converted his residence into a monastery in accordance with his will and named it “Xianliang” (the Worthy and the Virtuous). In an imperially commissioned stele for the Xianliang Monastery, Yongzheng praised Yunxiang’s “achievements in the prosperity of the state and beneficence in the welfare of the people”, and he was “indeed Shengzu’s very filial son, and my beloved younger brother and loyal minister”.