Daily Archives: June 12, 2015

The true treasures of China.

When we came up to Taipei, I asked my dad for a little bit of advice on what he thought was worth seeing. After all, my parents did visit Taiwan this March after the Lunar New Year, in part to see what in the world I had been raving about! When asked for the one touristy spot we should see if we had time, he confirmed that we should visit the National Palace Museum. To explain what the National Palace Museum is necessitates a detour into Chinese and Taiwanese history…

Us in front of the National Palace Museum.
Us in front of the National Palace Museum.

Behind Tiananmen Gate in Beijing is the entrance to the Forbidden City, where the Palace Museum of China is to be found. Housed in the old palace of the Ming and Qing dynasties, the Palace Museum holds all sorts of precious artifacts, textiles, porcelains, and works of art and history from China’s thousands of years of history. Except that is, some of the best examples. In 1948, when the Nationalists under Chiang Kai-shek were about to lose to the Communists and Mao Zedong, they retreated to Taiwan and took the best selection of artifacts from the Palace Museum with them. Most of those artifacts remain in Taiwan today, housed in the National Palace Museum in Taipei. Some say this was a good thing, because during the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976), many of China’s artifacts were destroyed by Chinese people themselves. The Palace Museum in Beijing barely escaped the same sort of destruction, thanks to guards specifically deployed to protect it.

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