TAPEI, Taiwan (Friday 15th November 2019) – “I have been here 27 years so it must be a good place for me to stay so long.”
So said tour guide Ming-Li Chou of the National Palace Museum (NPM) as part her welcome remarks during a special organised tour for the visiting international media group conducted on Tuesday 8th October 2019 which included St.Kitts-Nevis, represented by Precious Mills of this media house.
As understood, she (Chou) started out as a volunteer at the NPM.
In speaking exclusively with this media house, when asked about the importance of knowing and preserving history as a people, Chou replied: “That is our root. I feel that everybody should be proud that we have such a deep culture and that we have so many different things in our history so I feel that it is important that we have our confidence and that we should work hard to continue this tradition.”
Asked how she feels helping to keep her country’s culture alive, she said: “I feel proud and I feel that I have responsibility to continue so I feel that as a descendant of this culture we should carry on and we should work harder to be part of it.”
Having quizzed the group members about guessing a figure regarding how many books and documents are housed at the museum, Chou disclosed that there are “over 600,000 pieces of books and documents and most people come to our museum to see jade, pottery, ceramic… but the number one of this is books and documents including the whole library…”
“Right now we are opened all year around from 8:30 am to 6:30pm; Fridays and Saturdays we open until 9:00pm. So today you are basically here for one hour, so come again,” she commented with a giggle to the group of overseas media professionals.
The press group at the time was visiting the Republic of China (Taiwan) for Double Tenth National Day media tour programme (5th to 11th October 2019) as organised by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the NPM was one the stops.
As gathered, in 2016, the NPM turned 91 years old and was recognised as one of the world’s major museums.
One of the famous pieces found at the NPM is the Jadeite Cabbage. It is a white and green piece of jadeite sculpture (a form of the jade ornamental mineral) in the shape of Chinese cabbage, comprising of a locust and katydid camouflaged in the leaves.
A Statistical Tabulation of Numbers and Types in the Collection found on the official website (www.npm.gov.tw) reveals that artifacts in the collection of the National Palace Museum are great in both number and variety.
As published, the number of artifacts possessed by the National Palace Museum for each artifact category is as follows: Bronzes: 6,240, Ceramics: 25,592, Jades: 13,478, Paintings: 6,697, Calligraphic works: 3,728, Calligraphic model books: 495, Lacquer wares: 773, Enamel wares: 2,520, Carvings: 666, Studio implements: 2,379, Coins: 6,953, Miscellaneous objects: 12,495, Tapestries and embroideries: 308, Calligraphic model books: 495, Fans: 1,882, Rubbings: 898, Archival documents: 395,551 and Textiles: 1,573.
According to the website: The category of miscellaneous objects includes objects such as religious implements, costumes and accessories, and snuff bottles. Thus, as of October 2019, the entire collection is composed of 698,735 objects.
Information found in the history segment indicates that: The National Palace Museum (NPM) houses a magnificent collection of precious Chinese artifacts and serves the role of protecting human and art histories. In May 2016, Lin Jeng-yi (1959–) was appointed the director of the NPM. Upon assuming office, Director Lin put forward the vision of “transforming local industries to international industries,” emphasizing the diversity, professionalism, and internationality of the NPM as well as making it young, public-oriented, and localization-centric.
Furthermore: The history between the Kuomintang and the communist party contributed to the relocation of National Palace Museum (NPM) artifacts to Taiwan and the artifacts subsequently becoming a crucial part of Taiwan’s culture. A review of the NPM’s history shows that it has inherited China’s national culture spanning thousands of years and shoulders the responsibility of preserving and publicizing artifacts. Most of the artifacts from the NPM’s collection came from The Palace Museum the preparatory department of the Nanjing Museum (previously the “National Central Museum”). Of the said artifacts, the majority was previously owned by the Jehol and Shenyang temporary palaces. This signifies that the NPM’s current artifact collection contains Qing court artifacts from The Palace Museum, the Jehol temporary palace, and the Shenyang temporary palace.
Following the tour, the group had lunch at The Silks Palace which is described to be an independent building with glass curtain walls, located on the right of the NPM Main Building exit (as viewed from inside the exit).
As shared on the NPM website, The Silks Palace offers a variety of food options: On the first floor, it offers dishes that are linked to NPM artifacts (e.g., the Jadeite Cabbage, Meat-shaped Stone, and curio boxes) as well as Taiwanese and Cantonese food. On the second floor, it offers a private room serving famous Taiwanese cuisine such as beef noodles, danzi noodles, Taiwan shrimp rolls, minced pork rice, wagui, and douhua and on the third floor, it offers a banquet hall that can accommodate 35 tables.