Temples and Shrines: Sponsor the Ancient Places of Worship of Emperors & Help VMFA Build the Forbidden City

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If you’ve been to VMFA recently, you’ve probably noticed the 3D printers humming away in the Atrium. They’re printing the hundreds of tiny buildings that make up the Forbidden City in honor of the upcoming special exhibition, which opens Oct 18. This printing project is part of a crowdfunding campaign to support the museum’s exhibition program. Your tax-deductible donations support all of VMFA’s exhibitions—from traveling exhibitions like Forbidden City: Imperial Treasures from the Palace Museum, Beijing and Chihuly to those showcasing VMFA’s permanent collections.

Each giving level—this one is $250—is tied to an architectural element of the Forbidden City. In a series of six blog posts, we will provide the story behind each of these intriguing icons:

Ming emperors and Qing emperors and their extended families were pious believers of Buddhism and Daoism. The Hall of Imperial Peace is a 15th century Daoist temple located in the center of the Imperial Garden. Two gilded mythological creatures, qilin, sit on either side of the front door, protecting the hall from evil spirits. The Daoist God of Water, Zhenwu, was worshipped here, and it was believed that he would protect the Forbidden City from fire. A 400-year old pine tree, known as the Consort Pine, grows in front of the building, symbolizing the harmony between Emperor and Empress.

Help VMFA Build the Forbidden City and come by the museum to watch the progress!