A photographer has been heavily criticised on social media for carrying out a photo shoot of a near-naked model in the Forbidden City, the former imperial palace in the centre of Beijing, according to newspaper report. Many internet users said the shoot was shameless and had profaned historical relics after a number of pictures showing the naked woman posing in front of white marble handrails and sitting on the head of a marble dragon circulated on the internet, The Beijing News reported. One of the photographs, posted by the photographer Wang Dong on his social media account, showed the woman leaning on a handrail in front of a hall with crowds of tourists nearby. “I was only doing my work and did not affect anyone,” Wang was quoted as saying. Officials at the Forbidden City, now known as the Palace Museum, have yet to comment and it is not clear if Wang was given approval to carry out the photo shoot. An expert on tourism was quoted as saying that if the photographer was allowed to take the photographs he should have done so when the museum was closed to the public. Construction of the Forbidden City began in the 1400s and the former palace is one of China's biggest tourist attractions.