Qianlong inscription workshop

A two-day workshop held on 1-2 March 2010, for curators and researchers focused on inscriptions ordered by the Qianlong Emperor (AD 1736-95) of China’s Qing dynasty.


  • Ashmolean Musem, Oxford
  • British Library, London
  • British Museum, London
  • Chinese University, Hong Kong
  • Christies, London
  • Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge
  • Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
  • National Palace Museum, Taipei
  • Palace Museum, Beijing
  • School of Oriental and African Studies, London
  • Sotheby’s, London
  • University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh
  • V&A, London


To provide new translations and a better context for the inscriptions, and establish an international network of scholars working on aspects of Qing History and a hub for Qianlong inscriptions.
The project was designed to support collaboration with international scholars building on existing relationships and creating new ties.

Project details

There are many examples of objects with full Qianlong inscriptions in the collections of institutions including the National Palace Museum, Taipei, the Palace Museum, Beijing and the V&A, London.

At the British Museum combining the British Museum collection and Sir Percival David Collection there are 38 objects with full Qianlong dates ranging from AD 1737 to AD 1790. There are of course additional items with palace marks and many mark and period pieces which were not part of the workshop.

To discuss these inscriptions, twenty international scholars were invited to a workshop held at the British Museum. The format of the workshop included a series of short presentations by most of the group over the two mornings of the workshop to establish what  was held by the institutions involved and to highlight some of the interesting aspects for future research.

The legacy of the project has also included better records of the British Museum, Sir Percival David and V&A objects which are now available online.

 Jade collared ring 1200-1050 BC with Qianlong inscription

Jade collared ring 1200-1050 BC with Qianlong inscription. Inscription dated: 乾隆庚戌新春御題 Composed by the Qianlong emperor in the new spring of the gengxu year (AD 1790).


Ru ware bowl

Ru ware bowl, Northern Song 1086-1125 Made in Qinglaingsi, Henan province. Inscription date: 乾隆丙午御題 Composed by the Qianlong emperor in the cyclical year bingwu (AD 1786). 
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Qianlong inscription Workshop

Qianlong inscription workshop.