Skip to comments.Taiwan: The last outpost of old China
Posted on 07/26/2013 7:36:36 PM PDT by TexGrill
Sometimes, small is everything. In Taipeis exceptional National Palace Museum, I chanced on a case containing a carved olive kernel. It was an unlikely exhibit, the kind that had people tilting their heads one way, then the other, before peering in closer. Shaped by the evidently steady hands of a master craftsman more than 250 years ago, it portrays a miniature boat, complete with exquisite awning, passengers and rigging. For a tiny piece of fruit matter it is a near-miraculous piece of art.
The sculpture was created for the Chinese emperor of the day and, like so much in the museum, it is intricate enough and unfathomable enough to bring browsing tour groups to a juddering halt. And there was me thinking Taiwan was all about modern technology.
Comprising thousands of artworks collected by generations of emperors in Beijing, the pieces in the museum are well travelled. There are Ming vases, millennia-old bronzes and ivory wrist rests. It was Chiang Kai-shek the nationalist leader and Maos great foe during the Chinese Civil War who had the best of them boxed up and packed off from the Forbidden City, in the hope of keeping them from the clutches of the communists. The treasures were spirited first to Shanghai, then Sichuan, before crossing to Taiwan with Chiang and more than a million of his followers in 1949. And there they remain, to the chagrin of China but much to the benefit of those visiting Taipei.
(Excerpt) Read more at telegraph.co.uk ...