If you have visited the National Library of Australia this year I am sure that you have popped your head in to see the Celestial Empire exhibit that has been on display since 2 January. If you haven’t had a chance to see the exhibit yet, pencil it in your diary for this week because this unique exhibition is heading into its final days, closing on Sunday 22 May.

Celestial Empire is a unique and never-before-seen exhibit in Australia that showcases life in China throughout the period of 1644-1911. Many treasures from the National Library of China have never travelled outside China before, and have made their first journey to Australia to appear alongside items from the National Library of Australia’s own fascinating Asian collection. Celestial Empire allows you to see China at the time through the eyes of the common people, with books, maps, prints and stunning artworks coming to life in ornate detail.

To further immerse you in the culture of the 300-year period, the last week of the exhibition will feature a number of talks, workshops and lectures.

Some of the highlights include:

A Celestial Evening
6:00pm Saturday 14 May
$120 all inclusive – Limited spaces available

Enjoy a delicious Chinese-inspired meal with a glass of champagne as exhibition curator Nathan Woolley takes you on a tour of the exhibition. Attendees will also receive a signed copy of the exhibition’s publication Celestial Empire: Life in China 1644-1911.

The Art of Penjing

Experience China: Landscape Architecture
2:00pm Sunday 15 May
$15 with Chinese tea included

For the green thumbs and bonsai enthusiasts around town, this is an absolute must-see. Join National Bonsai and Penjing Curator Leigh Taafe as he demonstrates the tricks of the trade and the traditional principles of the bonsai and penjing practice. Also on showcase will be some of the oldest and most unique bonsai and penjing plants in Australia.

The Story of the Stone
Cao Xueqin and his Bannerman Friends
6:00pm Thursday 19 May
$15 with refreshments included

Dream of the Red Chamber, also called The Story of the Stone, is one of China’s greatest literary works. Professor John Minford discusses the background of this novel, written by Cao Xueqin during the High Qing of the 18th century.

Make sure you head down to this unique and exclusive exhibition at the National Library of Australia (open daily from 10:00am-5:00pm and until 8:00pm on Thursdays) before it ends on 22 May. For more information about lectures, events and the exhibition itself visit the National Library of Australia website.