The internationally renowned Belgian artist Luc Tuymans and Yu Hui, curator of the Palace Museum in Beijing, initiate a dialogue between art from the Low Countries and from China. Drawings and paintings by, among others, Van Eyck, Brueghel, Rubens, Van Dyck, Jordaens, Ensor, Mellery, Spilliaert and Magritte confront works on paper and silk from the Ming and Qing dynasties and the early Chinese Republic, held in the Forbidden City of Beijing, from which the Chinese emperors ruled their domains. "We try to open up the dialogue via the visual image, without detracting from the two traditions. We work with 'punctuation': for example, two groups of images from Chinese art are interrupted by a Western work," says Luc Tuymans. The Forbidden Empire breathes new life into the old masters and creates a bridge to a subsequent section with contemporary art. After it leaves the Centre for Fine Arts in Brussels, the exhibition will travel, to the Palace Museum in the Forbidden City.