Sunday, December 03, 2006

National Palace Museum

September 23, 2006 - National Palace Museum (國立故宮博物院). I gather this is Taiwan's most important museum, with a fascinating history.

Through much of China's history, Emperors would have art brought to the capital from all over China. The accumulation was a huge collection of art, closed to the public until the last emperor was overthrown and the Nationalists took power in the early 20th Century. They established the National Palace Museum in the Forbidden City in Beijing.

When war broke out, the entire collection was wrapped up and moved around to make sure it didn't fall into Japanese hands. Then the Japanese were defeated and the Communists rose to power and chased the Nationalists around China and off the mainland onto Taiwan. The Nationalists managed to take the entire collection with them, fully intact!

After many decades, when it became clear that the Nationalists weren't going to take back China any time soon, they established the National Palace Museum in Taipei. The collection is so large that there is a frequent turnover of exhibits. Which is good, because when I went, I thought it was pretty boring.

I dunno. Collected stuff through the ages - vases, spoons, rocks that look like meat, - don't interest me or necessarily qualify as "art" (I do note that "art" is no where in the title of the museum). I think looking through someone's living room is just as interesting.

iTunes soundtrack:
1. Killing Me With Your Voice (Rebecca)
2. Mr. Wiggles (Parliament)
3. Tear (Smashing Pumpkins)
4. Dear Madame Barnum (XTC)
5. Mother (Pink Floyd)
6. Chevrolet (Taj Mahal)
7. Revelation (Mother Earth) (Ozzy Osbourne)
8. Achilles Last Stand (Led Zeppelin)
9. One Vision (Queen)
10. Unquiet Slumbers for the Sleepers... (Genesis)


Anonymous said...

One of my favorite rooms at the museum is this one where they track time and the accomplishments of different civilizations. Like 2000 years ago, the rest of the world was just discovering fire (yes, it's an exaggeration), while at the same time the Chinese had invented gunpowder as well as the compass. Stuff like that tracked through time. China is portrayed as super advanced until you get to the 20th century. I remember this one part of the timeline (1960s) when the rest of the world puts a man on the moon and the equivalent accomplishment in China was a jade cabbage or something like that. Totally cracked us up.

keauxgeigh said...

Haha! I think I missed that. But I need to go again this month, since the admission I got a few months ago is good for one extra admission before the end of the year.

Yea, while we were busy putting people on the moon, the Chinese were busy destroying their culture and history. Yay team.