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The National Palace Museum in Taiwan
is the pride of the nation

and the approach up to the museum
sets the tone for the treasures that wait inside.

The collection here covers
8000 years of Chinese history

from the Neolithic to the modern era
and it's the largest collection of Chinese
artefacts and artworks in the entire world.

You enter the grounds through a large archway
and the walk up the path
gives plenty of time to reflect

on the dramatic way this place came to be.
The museum itself has as interesting a past
as any of the nearly 700,000 artefacts it houses

because this massive collection
hasn't always been in Taipei.

In 1948, during the panic of the Chinese Civil War,
the collection was evacuated
from China's Forbidden City

in an effort to keep these precious objects safe.
It's this large scale relocation from China to Taiwan
that gave birth to the creation
of the National Palace Museum in 1965.

Artefacts here rarely leave the premises
due to fear that they'll be seized.

General admission is 350 Taiwan Dollars
or just under $15 CAD.

We got our tickets and a guide map
and put our bags in one of the free lockers.
I love that the locker room,
which could easily be a boring, sterile place

is seen as yet another surface to display art.
The permanent collection here
is on a three month rotation

because there's simply not enough room
to display everything at once.

But you can always find the museum's
most famous and popular piece.

Like the Mona Lisa at the Louvre,
the pride and joy of the National Palace Museum is…

a cabbage.
Specifically a cabbage made of Jadeite.
It's in a sectioned off area protected by guards.
The craftsman who made the cabbage
followed the natural colours of the jadeite

turning the green part into leaves
and the white part into stems.

It's only about 7.5 by 3.5 inches big
so, if you don't look carefully, you could miss
the grasshoppers delicately carved on it.

Next to the cabbage is the stand it originally sat in,
which has a wood carving of a spirit fungus.

Cabbage and spirit fungus represent
longevity and auspiciousness,

all pointing to the fact that this non-living plant
will remain eternally fresh.

In direct competition with the cabbage
for the museum's most beloved
and popular artefact is – wait for it –

a piece of pork.
Well, technically it's a rock
that looks like a piece of pork.

It's literally called the Meat-Shaped Stone.
It looks like a piece of braised pork belly
but it's made of a mineral called branded jasper
that has naturally occurring layers.

And the craftsman used that to advantage
to stain the layers from top to bottom
with darker to lighter shades of brown

which makes it look like a fatty
piece of meat stewed in soy sauce.

After spending time in Taiwan's foodie culture
and understanding how much
people here appreciate good food,

it makes perfect sense that the
two big ticket museum pieces

are actually pieces of food.
One of my favourite things I saw at the museum
is a long hand scroll of ink and colours on silk

that's been brought to life through animation.
It's called Spring Dawn in the Han Palace
and it's nearly 19 feet long.

The National Palace Museum has been
digitizing their entire collection since 1988,

so it's not surprising to see technology
used so effectively in the exhibition here.

You can look down at the scroll,
which is over 500 years old,

and then look up and see what the inspiration
for that scene would have looked like in real life.

There's so much to see here from furniture
to sculptures
to jewelry and hair pins.
It's mind blowing to think of how many
thousands of years of human history

are represented by what you're seeing.
I'm always impressed, too,
with how things that are so old

can sometimes feel
so contemporary at the same time.

For example, this series of paintings
shows men doing different physical exercises

and, to me at least, they don't feel
that far off of a more modern style.

Or sometimes old designs look like prototypes
for inventions within my own lifetime:

like these objects that kind of look like CDs
but were actually used
in ceremonies like proposing marriage.

Other highlights of the museum for me
were a lotus flower that opens up
to reveal tiny little Buddhas inside,

a duck-shaped spoon holder,
a bird that looks like a golden phoenix,
and a painted pottery figure dating back to 8 BCE.
With its giant collection, the National Palace Museum
is well worth visiting to find your own highlights.
And since displays rotate every few months,
you never know quite what
treasure you're going to find.

Except the cabbage and the meat rock –
they're always there.

And if you visit the museum on an empty stomach,
I suggest leaving them until the end

when you can head straight
to a great meal somewhere in Taipei.

Speaking of which, we've made a whole series
of videos about visiting Taiwan,

including a bunch of delicious foods,
drinks, and desserts,

so check the description box for more.
Like this video if you enjoyed it, which I hope you did,
and subscribe for more travel adventures.
Thanks for watching!


Discovering 8000 Years of Treasure in Taiwan

1482 タグ追加 保存
佳萱 2018 年 9 月 3 日 に公開
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