See antique clockwork marvels from China’s Forbidden City

Called zimingzhong in Mandarin Chinese, or “bells that ring themselves”, these intricate clocks were brought to China by European missionaries during the Qing dynasty and were highly prized by Chinese emperors. These lavish clockworks don’t just represent time but serve as windows on a period of cutting-edge scientific innovation and collaboration across borders. The ‘Zimingzhong: Clockwork treasures from China’s Forbidden City’ exhibition is on display at the Science Museum, London until 2 June 2024.

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