Palace Museum stage cross-strait exhibition

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Thirty-seven pieces of art from Beijing's Palace Museum will go on exhibit at the Taipei Palace Museum in October. For the first time, treasures across the Strait will reunite after 60 years of separation.

"Harmony and Integrity, Emperor Yongzheng and His Times" provides a complete narrative of the life, administration, and achievements in art and culture of the Yongzheng Emperor.

There are all together 246 sets of objects on show at the Taibei Palace museum. They include 37 loans from the Beijing Palace Museum and two from the Museum of Shanghai. The loans were sealed in a wooden case in a ceremony on Tuesday morning a formal preparation for the journey.

Among the stellar exhibits from the Beijing branch are the Yongzheng Portrait in Court Attire, which depicts a sitting Yongzheng ready to receive ministers. Also, there is picture of a Qing Beauty wearing Han ethnic costumes, which according to experts denotes a hidden attraction from the ruling Manchurians for the Han culture. And there's a picture of Yongzheng wearing a wig and western clothes, ready to hunt a tiger.

Yongzheng ruled for a short thirteen years. In history, it was only a brief transition. Yet his administration provided an efficient and vigorous link to the long rule of the Kangxi Emperor and another lengthy and magnificent era under the Qianlong Emperor. In fact, he had the phrase "Being an Emperor is hard" carved on a stone seal to act as a constant reminder of the responsibility for ruling a country.

Exhibits from the Taipei include Yongzheng's imperial decrees, inkstones, porcelain bowls and a painting by famous Italian painter Giuseppe Castiglione, known for his Chinese name Lang Shi'ning. They shed spotlight on the diligent emperor and his refined and lofty taste in art.

The exhibits from both Palace Museums are expected to provide a full image of Emperor Yongzheng.

Fung Mingchu, deputy curator of Taipei Palace Museum, said, "The exhibition is significant as a form of cultural exchange, for both Palace Museums are more than just ordinary museums. They both house the premium collection of Chinese art, and their relationship goes way back. It was one museum sixty years ago. The exhibition should be considered a hallmark in cross-strait exchanges. "

The Taipei Palace Museum put forward the idea to hold a feature exhibition of relics from the Beijing Palace Museum in 2008. The request received a swift response from the Beijing side.

Li Ji, deputy curator of Beijing Palace Museum, said, "Taipei sent out the call for exhibits, and where better to loan the exhibits than from the Palace Museum in Beijing? The general environment then facilitated a swift signing of the agreement."

The exhibition is also made possible by the Yuanta Cultural and Educational Foundation. The organization has been collecting and researching Chinese arts and crafts for decades. Chief Executive Vincent Lin said that they are glad to push forward this historical exchange.

Exchanges between the two Palace Museums were resumed earlier this year. Chou Gong-shin, curator of the Taipei Palace Museum visited Beijing in mid-February. Her visit was returned by Zheng Xinmiao, curator of Beijing Palace Museum in March.

The historical exhibition opens at the Taipei Palace Museum on October 7th this year and will conclude on January 10th, 2010.


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