CANBERRA, Jan. 2 (Xinhua)-- Books, maps, drawing, posters and other documents of China's last empire, the Qing Dynasty, are on display as an exhibition, named Celestial Empire, opened to public at the National Library of Australia (NLA) on Saturday.
Some 170 items, 88 of which are from the Chinese National Library, are arranged in five parts in the exhibition, namely the culture of rule, inheriting the past, the rambling world, looking in and a troubled century.
The two national libraries have been working for three years to jointly stage the exhibition in order to show the Australians a kaleidoscope of Chinese society in the last imperial dynasty.
Among all the items is a 6 meter-long, 60 cm-wide architectural sketch of the empire's Forbidden City palace. The piece is estimated to have been done in 1889 and belongs to the Lei family, who were architects for China's imperial court for seven generations.
"The exhibition is meant to showcase different aspects of life in China over the last centuries of imperial rule," said Curator Nathan Wolley.
Captions are in both English and Chinese, making the exhibition the first bilingual one by the NLA, according to Media Manager Sally Shopman.
NLA Director-General Anne-Marie Schwirtlich said the two national libraries have been in good working relationship for about 60 years. When the two institutions signed a memorandum of understanding in 2012, both sides wished to push the bilateral cooperation to a higher level and a fresh area, which led to the exhibition.
Impressed by the rich and sophisticated culture in China three centuries ago, Kathy and Geoffrey Prids from Newcastle, New South Wales, said it's good to know more about Australia's Asian neighbors through exhibitions like this.
"When we were in high school, we just learned European history," said Geoffrey in his 60s. "We are more Euro-centric at that time."
"Australia now considers itself an Asian country and China is our biggest trading partner. We'd better know more about their culture and their history," he said.
The exhibition will last till May 22 and will only be shown in the National Library in Canberra.