The Imperial Canon
The Imperial Cannon is the largest and most famous collection of human art in the Manifold, with pieces spanning all the way back to before the era of the Old Voxelian Empire. The collection includes a large number of paintings, tapestries, sculptures, and frescoes, with the most unusual piece being the body of the second Emperor of Voxelia preserved in ancient honey.
The name of the Imperial Canon stems from the fact that it was first started by decree of the Emperor of the then-nascent Voxelian Empire in the year 6201 AX. The second Voxelian Emperor, Tiburos I of Silkenvault, declared on his deathbed that he wished for a collection of the finest art objects from all of his domain to be gathered in a vault beneath the Imperial Court to serve as his burial goods. He further stipulated that he would lie, preserved, in the center of this collection to show all future generations who was responsible for this unique era of unity and prosperity. Tiburos got his wish, and this vault was constructed beneath the castle in what was originally a wine cellar for the Imperial household. To this day, the old emperor remains mellified in the finest Ambergrain honey in a sarcophagus at the center of the vault. Tiburos' specific statement regarding "show(ing) all future generations" led his advisors to believe that the Emperor had wished for the vault to be open to display in some fashion, though they reasoned that it would be unwise to open it to any and all members of the public due to the risk of heists or attempts to break into the castle via the vault's starecases. Furthermore, it would be some time before Voxelian architects had the techniques required to make the vault accessible to the surface without undermining the castle, as any public access would invariably penetrate the outer walls' foundations. Because of this, until the ascension of the Council of Liars to power, only the members of the Imperial court were permitted to see the works stored in the vault. Nobles wishing to curry favor with Tiburos' descendants - the current house to sit the throne of the Voxelian Empire - would gather new pieces of art from their own holdings to add as offerings to the ever-growing art collection, which became known around the year 7000 as the Imperial Canon.
This new space was based on the original vault as much as possible, and contained many frescoes painstakingly moved from the old vault to the new space, as the location itself was considered as much a piece of art as the objects it contained. Some of the art found in the castle proper at the time of the Empire's deposition was also included in the collection, marking the first time some of these pieces had ever been seen by civilian eyes. While the Council of Liars held no love for the candied corpse of old Tiburos I, they saw the beauty in his ornately-carved, gold-inlaid sarcophagus and, therefore, re-enshrined him in the center of the new museum. This is the state in which the Imperial Canon exists to this day.
In 8390 AX, the court jesters overthrew Voxelian Emperor and his vassal kings, establishing Voxelia as a semi-representative oligarchy with themselves (thenceforth known as the Council of Liars) at the head. The Council of Liars was far more attuned to the needs and wants of the common people, and their powerbase relied on a combination of public representation and cultural hegemony. To suit the later goal, the Council decided to finally open the Imperial Canon to the public, with an official statement at the time declaring that "these works once belonged to people from all across our fair nation, and, thus, people from all across our fair nation deserve to lay eyes upon their artistic works once more." In 8400 AX, in the interest of maintaining the security of the Imperial castle - known called the Court of Liars - an expanded replica of the vault itself was created nearby and the original vault was sealed away. The art works from the original vault were moved into this new subterranean museum space located only a short distance away from the castle.
The Imperial Canon serves as an important connection to both the national history and cultural heritage of the New Voxelian people. In addition to being a major draw for tourists and students on field trips for the municipality of Silkenvault, the paintings, sculptures, frescoes, and tapestries found within are required study material for all students at the Voxelia College of Bards. The preservation and restoration efforts at the site have expanded various fields of scientific study, especially chemisty. In some cases, major historical events which transpired before the advent of written accounts are only known of because they have been recreated in pieces found within the Imperial Canon; this would make the site of interest to Elovisian expatriates as well, but current events prevent most of them from ever getting to reconnect with this history in Silkenvault.