Hong Kong Palace Museum, which opened to the public on Sunday, has ignited the city's passion and pride for the nation's rich civilization and 5,000-year history, as many of the visitors called the exhibition unforgettable and "worth a second visit".
To mark the 25th anniversary of Hong Kong's return to the motherland, the new cultural landmark presents over 900 treasures on loan from Beijing's Palace Museum, ranging from paintings and bronzeware to embroideries. Some of them have never been shown to the public before.
The opening of the museum, originally scheduled for Saturday, was postponed due to a fierce tropical cyclone.
After a day of waiting, visitors' expectations reached a peak on Sunday. At around 8 am, one hour before opening, the museum had Hong Kong residents lining up with excitement. Four residents dressed in traditional Chinese clothing in honor of the special occasion.
Local resident Timothy Chan, a 29-year-old museum lover, said it is an unforgettable memory for him to have been among the first group of visitors, noting that he used to catch flights to Beijing to visit the Palace Museum and appreciate its cultural relics.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it's now difficult for Chan to visit Beijing, and the opening of the Hong Kong museum offered him another option.
Chan said the new cultural landmark not only provides a cultural feast to museum lovers like him, but will also help boost residents' desire to know more about Chinese culture.
Zhu Shihao, a 26-year-old student working on a master's degree in Chinese literature, who came from the mainland, said he is very happy to get a close look at the rarely seen cultural relics, calling the tour a special adventure that is worth a second visit.
Zhu, who is fond of art, said he prefers modern art over traditional art. However, he was still fascinated by the exhibition, as the treasures on display include not only Chinese artworks but also some from the West, which offers him a different perspective.
Besides antiques from Beijing Palace Museum, the opening exhibitions also showcased 13 artworks on loan from the Louvre Museum in Paris, France.
Daisy Wang Yiyou, deputy director of Hong Kong Palace Museum, said the new museum will not limit itself to Chinese art, but will also offer a Hong Kong perspective and a global vision, presenting the finest objects from the Palace Museum and other important cultural institutions around the world.
"Our starting point is Chinese art, but our goal is broader than that," Wang said, revealing that after the three-month opening exhibition, there will be another grand show about European fine art.
Grateful for the help of all partner museums, Wang said she believes that Hong Kong Palace Museum, which adopted new curatorial approaches, has an important role to play with other Hong Kong museums in enhancing the city's position as a world leader in the field of arts.
Kevin Yeung Yun-hung, who took office as Secretary for Culture, Sports and Tourism of Hong Kong on July 1, hopes that by offering an environment for immersion in traditional Chinese culture, the museum can boost Hong Kong people's national identity and well-being in the long-run.
On Sunday, he hailed the museum as a successful example of using the advantages of "one country, two systems" to tell Chinese stories to the world. He said it will surely be a milestone on the city's journey to become a global cultural and art hub.
The museum said it had sold about 115,000 tickets by Saturday, accounting for approximately 85 percent of the total number of tickets to be sold in July.