Hong Kong's new Palace Museum, a gift from Beijing to marks 25th anniversary of the territory's return to Chinese rule, aims to engage the city's younger generation with Chinese culture, its director said on Wednesday.
Spanning more than 30,000 square meters, the museum showcases more than 900 artifacts on loan from Beijing's Palace Museum in the Forbidden City, including portraits from the Qing dynasty, calligraphy and ceramics.
Of those, 166 works are considered "national treasures".
"We need to promote the transmission and dissemination of Chinese culture," museum director Louis Ng said ahead of the museum's opening on July 2, a day after Hong Kong marks the anniversary of its handover from British to Chinese rule. "Especially for young people, we need to give them more opportunities to understand and appreciate Chinese culture."
The museum sparked controversy when plans were unveiled in 2016, with critics saying there was a lack of transparency over the multibillion-dollar project and that it was presented as a done deal without public consultation.
A consultation period followed after the deal was announced.
Among the highlights at the museum, which comprises nine galleries, are paintings from the Tang and Song dynasties.
Funded by a HK$3.5 billion ($446 million) donation from the Hong Kong Jockey Club, the museum next to the Kowloon waterfront will also exhibit 13 pieces on loan from the Louvre Museum in Paris.