There was only one Palace Museum in China. What forced it to divide into two parts?" A documentary named "The National Palace Museum of Taipei" will tell you why we have two Palace Museums now - one lies in Beijing, the other in Taipei.
The Palace Museum of Taipei. [File Photo: hnta.cn]
The 12-episode TV documentary will be shown on China Central Television (CCTV) Channel 1 between January 12 and January 23, CCTV vice-president Gao Feng said on Wednesday in Beijing.
Before 1925, the Palace Museum was known as the Forbidden City, the imperial palace of the Ming and Qing dynasties. When Puyi, the last emperor of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1840), was expelled out of the red walls, the largest museum of China was established there.
In 1933, shortly before the outbreak of World War II, the authorities decided to evacuate the treasure collection of the Palace Museum rather than let it fall into enemy hands.
In the 32 years that followed, the most important pieces in the museum's collection were packed up and sent to Shanghai, Nanjing, Sichuan, and then, Taiwan.
To house the large royal collection of ancient art treasures, a "National Palace Museum" was built in Taipei in 1965. This "National Palace Museum" was later informally known as the Palace Museum of Taipei. Millions of visitors from home and abroad have been to the museum. However, all the stories behind it were rarely made public.
"The Palace Museum of Taipei" is the first documentary that records the adventurous trip. In the film, audiences will not only be treated to priceless antiques displayed in the Taipei Palace Museum, but will also be exposed to the spirit of conservation, according to the documentary's director Zhou Bing.
During last century's wars, scholars made utmost efforts to protect Chinese cultural treasures and didn't stop their research despite wretched living conditions. "They have set a perfect example for us in preserving Chinese cultural heritage. And I hope that our works can be part of the protection of our traditional culture," said Zhou Bing.
Adding to a previous documentary - "The Palace Museum" - which was first aired by CCTV in 2005, this new program will offer audiences a second part story of the Palace Museum, said Gao Feng.
"Apart from those items housed in the two museums in Beijing and Taipei, many other cultural relics from the Palace Museum got lost or stolen to foreign countries from the later half of the 19th century up to the early half of the 20th century. Someday, when we finish another part documentary on those overseas Chinese relics, we will be able to announce in pride that we've complete the task of recording the entire history of the Palace Museum in TV programs," added Gao Feng.