MangoVine
Adventures in East Asia

The Unmissable National Palace Museum of Taipei

The National Palace Museum was recommended to us as a definite visit and in our guide book there were two whole pages dedicated to it. Its full of ancient artifacts and if that's your thing, then this museum should be on your list.

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Sadly, I couldn't take any photos inside, so I only took some exterior shots. On the plus side, I actually started sketching again, making quick ball-point renderings of objects that inspired me.

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We got to the museum by taking the metro to Shilin MRT station and then caught the red bus 30 at a bus stop located on the main road at the end of the pedestrianised area directly outside the MRT exit. It was obvious when we arrived - the museum is pretty striking, set out in its own well-kept grounds - and the bus traveled all the way up to the entrance.

The National Palace Museum is an art museum in Taipei but it is also the national museum of the Republic of China, and has a permanent collection of over 650,000 pieces of ancient Chinese artifacts and artworks. This makes it one of the largest in the world as well as acting as a chronicle of five thousand years of Chinese history and heritage.

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Most of the collection are high quality pieces collected by China's ancient emperors and in 2008, it was the 15th most visited museum in the world.

With so many items, the three floors of the museum only displayed a tiny portion with the rest of the collection being stored in massive tunnels cut directly into the rock of the mountain located behind the museum.

The artifacts on display included examples of sculpture, furniture, calligraphy, painting, rare books and historical documents as well as antiquities consisting of pots, cups and items of spiritual or ritual relevance.

Particular favourites of mine included examples of curio boxes on the first floor which illustrated interesting and ingenius methods of box compartment design. One of the advertised highlights of the collection - a "dazzling gem" from the Qing Dynasty also proved to be rather nice in real life though initially gave us a Mona Lisa "moment". It was the Jadeite Cabbage which was alot smaller than we expected and which can be seen in the photo below (from Wikipedia).

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The reason the "Jadeite Cabbage" is so revered is due in part to the expert use of the jadeite's natural colours of green and white in recreating the colour variations of a real cabbage. The material also has a slight semi-translucent look that renders the piece beautifully.

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We stayed within the National Palace Museum until 6pm, though it was still open for a couple more hours for a late night closing time, as we wanted to visit the Zhishan Gardens outside whilst it was still light. Worth strolling through if you appreciate a well-kept traditional Chinese garden complete with bridges, and undulating landscapes.

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Linh and I returned to the museum straight afterwards to visit the shop and also caught a performance of some traditional Chinese music held in the foyer. The rendition seemed to be part of a weekly series of events that the museum hosts every Saturday night.

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More photos of the National Palace Museum on Flickr


This entry posted in : Art. Attractions. History. Taiwan. Tourism.

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