World Monuments Fund in Japan (2007)
World Monuments Fund has been working in Asia for over fifteen years, and was one of the first outside organizations to resume work in the historic city of Angkor, Cambodia. Our presence in the region has expanded dramatically in recent years with new projects in China, Japan, and Cambodia. This growth has been fueled by rapidly expanding contact between Asian and Western colleagues in the field of cultural heritage, increased access to sites, and growing interest in Asian cultures on the part of the general public in the United States.
Many important and beautiful architectural sites that need help have come to WMF’s attention. Threats to traditional ways of life are also often at risk. Although Asian countries share many common geographic, historical, aesthetic and philosophical roots, each has its own unique history. In response, WMF has shaped its program in Asia to meet the specific cultural standards in each country or region. In China today, WMF is working with an economically vibrant country that is reaching out to be part of the world economic, political, and cultural communities at every level (WTO and the 2008 Olympics are examples). WMF acts as a bridge between China and the world community of cultural heritage conservation on a number of highly visible and largescale multi-year conservation projects, including one in the Forbidden City in Beijing. In March 2003, WMF and the Palace Museum in the Forbidden City began a multi-million dollar restoration of Emperor Qianlong’s (r.1735–1795) Lodge of Retirement.
The Lodge, located in the northeast Qianlong District of the Forbidden City, was built (1771–1776) for Emperor Qianlong and is one of the most opulent, but neglected structures in the Forbidden City. It was restricted to imperial use for most of its existence, and then abandoned in the 1920s. The building is part of an exquisite private four-courtyard garden that the Emperor designed for his personal use. Restoration of the Lodge will take place over a three-year period, with completion scheduled in time for the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. This is the first partnership between the Palace Museum and a foreign organization to restore a significant interior in the Forbidden City. Primary funders include the Brown Foundation, the Freeman Foundation, and the Tiffany & Co. Foundation.