What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Beijing’s Forbidden City, the Ming Dynasty network of palaces at the heart of China’s capital? Lipstick, of course. And now, just in time to provide the perfect Christmas or Chinese New Year gift for the little emperor or empress in your life, the Forbidden City has unveiled a makeup range.
A post from the Forbidden City’s official Taobao account on Weibo
Rumors of the new product launch began over the weekend, with a slew of fake items making it to online outlets seemingly overnight. After the Palace Museum, as the complex is officially known these days, announced that all cosmetics on the market bearing its name were unofficial rip-offs, it seemed our hopes of adding a little concubine-inspired blush to our cheeks had been dashed. But then the Palace Museum’s Taobao account played its trump card: the actual product range would be released on Tuesday.
And thus, this morning they released the “Floating Heaven, Deep Sea – Forbidden Palace Red-Crowned Crane Series”. Swoon.
The design of each product is meant to be inspired by artifacts found inside the Palace Museum, including Tibetan cultural relics and a painting named “Water Picture Scroll” (水图卷). And so we have a new line of lipstick, called 故宫口红, or Forbidden City Lipstick, which includes colors such as Red-Crowned Crane (仙鹤口红) and Lang Kiln Red (郎窑红): a vivid shade based on a red Lang Yao pottery glaze. Because you’re worth it.
Cultural institutions experimenting with merchandising isn’t exactly a new phenomenon, and indeed the Forbidden City has been slinging official phone cases and tote bags for a while now, but this new range appears to have really struck a chord in China. The Museum shifted 3,000 units of the Red-Crowned Crane lipstick in just one hour today.
The Forbidden City’s cosmetics range, for the ancient relic in your life
Yet this isn’t the first time that a Chinese cultural institution has played with ways to present a more modern, down-with-the-youth face recently. Douyin (TikTok) helped a bunch of relics dance across phone screens earlier this year, while the Palace Museum itself has been featured on a number of TV programs, including National Treasures, which recently kicked off its second season.
CCTV’s Latest Reality Show Piques Chinese Youth’s Interest in “National Treasures” and Public Museums
So there we go — Forbidden City cosmetics. And we made it all the way through this article without making a “Maybe Xi’s born with it” joke.
You might also like:
China’s National Treasures Dance on Music Video App Douyin
The Hottest Look at New York Fashion Week SS2019? A Chinese Chili Sauce
Sex and the (Forbidden) City: Concubine Drama “Yanxi Palace” Becomes Smash Hit in the #MeToo Era
We highlight our top stories each week in an email newsletter that goes out every Monday - hot, fresh, and straight to your inbox.
Don't worry, we don't spam