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Introduction

The Treasured Masterpieces from the National Palace Museum, Taipei Special Exhibition, co-hosted by the National Palace Museum (NPM), the Tokyo National Museum, and the Kyushu National Museum, runs in Japan from Jun. 24, 2014 to Nov. 30, 2014. This special exhibition marks the first display of NPM artifacts on Japanese soil, making it an important milestone in the cultural exchange between Taiwan and Japan. The highly anticipated exhibition is sure to generate a considerable amount of attention in Japan.

The NPM has been widely known for its rich collection of first-class artifacts; Japan had expressed its interest to showcase NPM artifacts as far back as more than two decades ago. However, because of the lack of judicial laws protecting artifacts from potentially being impounded, requests for artifact exhibition had been declined by the NPM. Following the efforts made by a number of Japanese dietmen, the Overseas Artwork Public Promotion Act was passed on Mar. 25, 2011 in Japan. In Feb. 2012, Deputy Director Shimatani Hiroyuki of the Tokyo National Museum and his delegation team visited ex-NPM Director Chou Kung-shin and expressed their interest to display the NPM artifacts. In May 2012, an official application was filed by the Tokyo National Museum to the NPM requesting for a loan exhibition. This initiated the formation of a curatorial team comprising Tokyo National Museum and NPM researchers, who began to engage in various tasks such as exhibition planning and artifact selection.

The Treasured Masterpieces from the National Palace Museum, Taipei Special Exhibition showcases 231 sets of NPM artifacts comprising paintings, calligraphy, embroidery, ceramics, bronze ware, jade ware, lacquer ware, curios, rare books, and historical documents, which are first displayed in the Tokyo National Museum, followed by the Kyushu National Museum. The special exhibition for the former museum takes place from June. 24, 2014 to Sept. 15, 2014 while the latter will begin from Oct. 7, 2014 to Nov. 30, 2014.

To facilitate the display of foreign artifacts between museums, the Tokyo National Museum and the NPM have organized the Best of Japanese Arts: the Tokyo and Kyushu National Museums Special Exhibition (tentative exhibition title), selecting approximately 150 sets of the important artifacts housed by the Tokyo National Museum and the Kyushu National Museum. The artifacts will comprise Japanese paintings, Buddhist sculptures, ceramics, lacquer ware, and important historical documents. Among these artifacts, 68 are considered Japan’s national treasures as well as important cultural property and artwork. The exhibition is scheduled to take place from Oct. 2016 to Jan. 2017 in the Southern Branch of National Palace Museum.