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2006 GTI Scholars
Some Pieces in the National Palace Museum 
22nd-May-2006 09:08 pm

We'll be visiting the National Palace Museum on May 31. I'll be covering the museum's history and collection in my presentation, but I wanted to post some of the pieces I liked on the National Palace Museum website.

Bronze Wine Goblet
Shang Dynasty (1600B.C.-1046 B.C.).

This goblet was made by an unknown artist around 1500 B.C. The decoration on the bottom band represents a beast of some kind. This piece is 3500 years old, but it is not the oldest in the National Palace Museum's collection, which has pieces dating back to the Neolithic era.

Draft of a Requiem for My Nephew by Yen Cheng-ch'ing (709-785)
Tang Dynasty (618-815)

Yen wrote this poem when he was fourty-nine to commemorate his nephew, who died in battle. It is a draft, so there are characters that have been struck out and other revisions. The calligraphy is spontaneous and strong, revealing Yen's emotion. It appears to have been written in one sitting.

Immortal in Splashed Ink by Liang K'ai
Sung Dynasty (960-1368), painted late 12th/early 13th century

In Taoism, an "immortal" is like a saint in Catholicism or a Bodhisattva in Buddhism, a human who attained enlightenment and became a "celestial being" who serves as an example of the wisdom, humor, and virtue that humans could emulate.

Liang K'ai himself gave up a very prestigious position  in the Imperial court in order to live "a life of drinking and painting." He gave himself the nickname "Madman Liang."

Celestial Globe Vase
Ming Dynasty (1368-1644)

Ah, the famous Ming vase. It reminds me of that scene in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade when Dr. Jones Sr. smashes a vase over the head over Dr. Jones Jr., is horrified when he thinks it's a Ming vase, and then is greatly relieved when it turned out to be a fake.

This vase was made during the Yung-lo period of the Ming dynasty (1403-1425). It depicts a dragon on a ground of lotuses. These vases were often made for trade with Central Asia and reflect the tastes of Muslim culture.

Another item of interest is a painting called "One Hundred Horses" by Giuseppe Castiglione, an Italian Jesuit who came to China, took the name of Lang Shih-ning and learned Chinese painting. His painting style reveals a blend of Italian and Chinese techniques.

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