National Palace Museum Taipei
The National Palace Museum in Taipei is a very popular destination not just of artists, but of every local and foreign tourist in the country. This museum houses almost 700,000 pieces of ancient Chinese artifacts and artworks, most of them dating back to the era of Chinese Imperialism. And because Taiwan is considered as an island nation of China, this museum is treated as one of the national museums of the People’s Republic.
Located at Zhishan Road in the Shilin District of Taipei, the exhibition hall of the main building of the National Palace Museum is open daily from 8:30am to 6:30pm all year round. But aside from the main hall, the museum consists of five other parts namely the library, the Chang Dai-Ch’ien Memorial Residence, the Children’s Gallery art museum, the Zhishan Garden, and the Zhide Garden, where admission is free.
The artifacts and precious pieces on display at the National Palace Museum used to be housed in the Forbidden City in Mainland China. However, the invasion of the Japanese army got Generalissimo Chiang Kai-Shek worried about the safety of the nation’s valuable art pieces. He then ordered the artifacts to be evacuated to Taiwan so as not to fall into the hands of the Japanese Imperialist Army.
The evacuation of the pieces ensued even after the surrender of Japan and the Chinese Civil War. However, the roughness of conflict and all the invasions associated with it have kept the artifacts from being successfully transported from one place to another. As a matter of fact, only 22% of the pieces from the Palace Museum in the Forbidden City made it to Taiwan. A good portion was left in its original location while a number of them were stranded in transit and were kept instead at railway warehouses and a cane sugar mill. In 1960, a special grant in the amount of NT$32 million was secured to build a museum in the Waishuanxi District of Taipei to house all the pieces that were successfully transported to the island, including the ones kept for safety in different places. Named as the Chung Shan Museum, it eventually became the National Palace Museum of Taiwan.
The most notable exhibitions at the National Palace Museum are the Chinese antiquities, painting and calligraphy collection, and the rare books and documents kept for safekeeping.The antiquities consisted of bronzes like the Bell of Zhou, Chinese ceramics such as the Ru wares, and the jade carvings called the “Jadeite Cabbage”.
The Chinese paintings and calligraphy section serves as the art museum showcasing antique pieces dating back to the Tang Dynasty. On the other hand, the rare books that are kept at the museum are historical documents that have been used as court archives during the Qing Dynasty.
Three of the main artworks or paintings on display at the art museum section are the following: the remake of the ‘Along the River during the Qingming Festival’, ‘Dwelling in the Funchun Mountains’, and ‘One Hundred Horses’.
The main artists of the art museum include Zhang Zeduan, Huang Gongwang, and Giussepe Castilione, the original painters of the three notable masterpieces listed above.