BEIJING | Palace Museum | 4D Art – What is it? | ongoing

China • Beijing

Blending high technology and ancient Chinese history, Beijing’s Palace Museum brought the 12th-century painting Along the River During the Qingming Festival to life in a 4D rendering of this Classical Chinese work.

The 4D rendering of this 5.3-metre-long scroll aims to offer museum visitors a window into daily life along the Bian River on the streets of Bianjing, the capital of the Northern Song dynasty, as it is represented in Zhang Zeduan’s famous piece. 

The Palace Museum partnered with Phoenix TV to put together, “Life Along the Bian River at the Pure Brightness Festival - High-Tech Interactive Art Exhibition.”

The exhibition took 2 years and 40 million yuan to put together before it finally opened in 2018.

Wang Xiaodong, president of Phoenix Digital Technology, says, “the demands of visitors are getting more sophisticated in today’s digital age.”

These changing visitor demands fueled the inspiration for this innovative exhibition. 

The show itself is broken up into multiple sections, all recreating different aspects of the painting.

One section of the show brings to life an ancient tavern where actors treat museum visitors as customers would have been treated in a tavern hundreds of years ago. 

Another section of the exhibit includes a touch-oriented digital scroll, allowing visitors to zoom in on any portion of the painting and gain a further appreciation for its minute details.

The most engaging section of the exhibition, a four-minute virtual boat ride, allows visitors to gain a boater’s view of the Bian River.

Motion recliners give visitors viewing access to a 10-metre circular screen, providing the illusion that viewers are winding through bobbing boats, swaying willow trees, and touting vendors.

This river-based perspective encompasses the exhibit’s ability to fully immerse visitors in this centuries old painting. 

Looking towards the future of 4D art technology, Wang says, “we will explore how to present other Chinese heritage using sophisticated technology such as augmented reality.

Digitalising Chinese ancient culture is a strategic development [goal] for Phoenix Digital Technology.”

*partially sourced @


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