Cultural Relics of the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom
20 May – 16 Nov 2011
Permanent Exhibition Galleries No.1-5, Hong Kong Museum of Coastal Defence
Leisure & Cultural Services Department
Historical Museum of the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom, Nanjing City
Organized by Hong Kong Museum of Coastal Defence
In the mid-19th century, the Opium War exposed the Qing's weaknesses and forced China to lift its closed door policy. The whole nation since then suffered from domestic crisis and external invasion. On 11 January 1851, Hong Xiuquan led his followers in the Society of God Worshippers to start an uprising at Jintian village, Guangxi province. After fighting their way across more than half of China, they settled in Nanjing, renamed it the Heavenly Capital and established the Taiping (literally, Great Peace) Heavenly Kingdom to confront the Qing government.
The Taiping Heavenly Kingdom promulgated The Land System of the Heavenly Kingdom and organised military forces to launch the northern and western expeditions. Yet despite these victories, there was intensifying internal conflict within the Kingdom, which ultimately led to the Heavenly Capital Incident. In the late period, The New Essay on Economics and Politics was promulgated and the young commanders, Chen Yucheng and Li Xiucheng tried their utmost to contain the critical situation. Whilst combating the Qing army, they also encountered threats from Western powers. Despite a series of major victories in its early period, the Kingdom ultimately collapsed.
2011 marks the 160th anniversary of the Jintian uprising. The exhibition displays some 50 sets of cultural relics of the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom to revisit this episode in modern Chinese history.