Introduction to the National Palace Museum

Art: Hi everyone! Welcome to the National Palace Museum. My name is Art, and today you and I are going to explore China's most important treasures from the past 5000 years! I've especially invited my old friend, Emperor Qianlong of the Qing Dynasty, to be our super tour guide.

Qianlong: Hello! Did any of you know that most of the things in the National Palace Museum were part of my own collection when I lived in the Forbidden City in Beijing? My personal collection of art was the biggest and most important section in the palace. These treasures used to be just for the Emperors, but now everyone can come and enjoy them here at the National Palace Museum!

Art: Wow! We're in for a real treat then. But what are the treasures from the Forbidden City in Beijing doing in Taiwan?

Qianlong: Oh, that's a long story. When the Chinese people overthrew the last Emperor of the Qing dynasty in 1911, they established a new country called The Republic of China. The huge Palace where the Emperor lived, called the Forbidden City, was turned into the Palace Museum. This meant everyone could see the Emperors' treasures. Unfortunately, soon after that the Japanese invaded China, and to avoid destruction, the museum staff packed many treasures in boxes and sent them to inland China to keep safe. The journey was extremely dangerous so the museum staff risked their lives to protect the treasures. After an incredibly long and challenging journey, the boxes were brought to Taiwan. It took them thirty-two years, traveling over 5000 kilometers, to finally settle down here at the National Palace Museum! By then it was already 1965! Art, do you know how many treasures there are here in the museum?

Art: Um, There ought to be thousands – tens of thousands of treasures!

Qianlong: A-ha! There are over six hundred and eighty thousand objects here! (Art: Wow!) The three main categories of treasures are painting and calligraphy, antiquities, and rare books and documents. We're about to explore, so you need to stick with me. Are you ready? Let's go!