Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Taipei November 2012 Part 3

If you haven't been to the National Palace Museum, you haven't been to Taipei. The National Palace Museum holds one of the largest collections of ancient Chinese artifacts and artworks in the world. Originally established in 1925 in the Forbidden City, the museum was split into two as a result of Chinese Civil War between the Chinese Communists and the Nationalists. In 1948, when the war worsened, the Nationalist Government decided to evacuate the most valuable collections at the Palace Museum and five other institutions to Taiwan. 5,522 crates of artifacts, which were only 22% of the total collections, were shipped to Taiwan between 1948 to 1949. The rest remained in Mainland China, most likely are at the Palace Museum in the Forbidden City.

Today, there are over 600,000 artifacts at the National Palace Museum. There's a debate about which Palace Museum has more collections, the one in Taipei or the one in the Forbidden City. The museum itself is not big at all, compared to the size of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and the British Museum in London. Only 3, 000 pieces of the museum's collections can be exhibited at once. This means if the exhibition is to be changed every 3 months, it will take 108 years to have all the artifacts exhibited.

The National Palace Museum's majority collections are artifacts collected by ancient emperors. Thus it's not surprising the collections are amongst the highest quality artifacts. They are truly one of a kind. I spent at least three days visiting the museum.The museum doesn't allow any cameras in the exhibition area. I could only get a few photos from outside.

The front of the main exhibition hall

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