May 15, 2014

National Palace Museum - a Spot You Have to See

National Palace Museum in Taipei, Taiwan - the other history

It may not tell the story of Taiwan, but what it does is telling an amazing story of a time long time passed, a story of a culture that has impacted all of us, in different ways, regardless of where we are in the world.

The museum building, surrounded by green trees, and the path leading up to it.It tells the story of China.

A China well before it became the People's Republic  of China, a China when the emperors ruled the area, when emperors had the power in the Centre of the World - Zhongguo, 中國, meaning just that - the central country. A China full of mystery, full of traditions, and full of culture. National Palace Museum in Taipei, Taiwan tells a story of China before it opened up, when the Forbidden city in Beijing was inhabited by the emperor and his wives. The air in the National Palace Museum is so full of history that you can't avoid being impacted, draw in to the magic of the old stories.  

The National Palace Museum in Taiwan deservs your time

National Palace Museum in Taiwan is one of the biggest museums in the world, and it has the largest number of Chinese artifacts, without any doubt.

A statue of a lion/dog guarding the palaceBut why here? Why the history of China? This is because the National Palace Museum IS from China, this is in many way, the museum from the Forbidden City in Beijing - 北京 -the capital of China, the People's Republic of China. There is very little that is connected to Taiwan as a country here, but this is rather a key part of the history rescued and brought over to Isla Formosa, Taiwan.  

When Chiang Kai-Shek and his KMT (KuoMinTang) fled from China after having lost against Mao in the 1940-ies, they brought with the treasures. In the middle of the 1920-ies a Palace Museum had been built up in the Forbidden City in Beijing, China. but not much later the majority of the museum collections were packed up in  enormous crates and containers, and whenever KMT moved camps, they took the containers and craters with them. These were the same artifacts they brought with them when they later fled to Taiwan.

And regardless of what you think about KMT and their politics, this is one thing we should be grateful about. Had they been left in China during the Mao era, and especially during the cultural revolution in China between 1966 and 1976 (and especially 1966-1968) they would have been gone, just like almost every other historical artifact who was left behind - in an attempt to make history start with them, the leaders of China dedicated themselves to remove all items that connected China to the ancient history and culture.

Ann-Katrin in autumn clothes, by the white portal and the road leading up to the museum building
Most of the things we see in the National Palace Museum would have gone the same way, if they were left in Beijing. 

But they weren't. Instead the artifacts were safe in Taiwan, where they still are.

If you are in Taipei, make sure you visit the National Palace Museum. And if you already did, go again. The museum is so big and they have so many artifacts that it changes the exhibitions changes four times a year. I can guarantee you that you can discover something new - every time.

The official webpage for the National Palace Museum you will find here.

How to get there

Take the metro to Shilin stop, and take a bus from here. There are big signs showing you the way to the bus, and it is easy to find.  Don't worry, you will SEE when it is time to get off.

What to remember

  • Wear good shoes. Shoes you are comfortable walking around in.
  • No cameras allowed, nor big bags but there is a cloak room.
  • Bring your student ID if you are a student, you'll get a discount (and if you study in Taiwan, you get in for free).
  • There will be a lot of people, not the least big tour groups, but it is possible to take a different route (and avoid weekends) - you can work around them. 

View Spots in Taichung and in Taiwan in a larger map

1 comment :

Joy said...

You're blogging again! Yay! Hope all is well! :-)