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     In the 4th century BCE, the ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle wrote the Historia Animalium (History of Animals), a pioneering work that served as the primary source of zoological knowledge in the western world over the next two thousand years. During the Qianlong reign of the Qing Dynasty,the Album of Beasts was compiled, which included research on the history, geography, foreign writings, and legends of various real and imaginary beasts, and explored the role of animals in a changing world. Animals have long been a source of inspiration for the creative endeavors of humans, and consequently, they have been preserved in works of art passed down through the generations. The National Palace Museum houses a diversity of animal-themed works, including rare birds and beasts, aquatic fauna, and the twelve animals of the Chinese zodiac. This exhibition, Bestiarum Vocabulum: NPM x Hsinchu 241 New Media Art Exhibition, marks the debut of the "Digital Bestiary" created by the National Palace Museum, which employs new media art to provide a fresh perspective on the animals depicted in the painted scrolls of the Museum collections. In addition, this exhibition has also invited the Hsinchu Zoo for a first-time collaboration on a digital zoo that combines ancient, modern, real, and imaginary elements.

     Through three primary themes, "Finding Beasts with the Aid of Drawings," "The Birth of Artistic Beasts," and "Ecosystems of Artistic Imagination," this exhibition explores the process of how animal drawings on ancient painted scrolls and albums are transferred to modern screens, and how new media can replace paintbrushes to generate myriad creative effects that integrate with modern perspectives to produce a bestiary of phenomenal artistic imagination. "Finding Beasts with the Aid of Drawings" opens with the Kunyu Quantu (Great Universal Map), offering a glimpse of how knowledge of European natural history and zoological history spread in the Qing Court and how this information was interpreted. The augmented reality work, The Universal World of Ferdinand Verbiest, is displayed here, and presents the 17th century view of rare beasts as an opening prelude to this exhibition. This section also includes a collaboration with the Hsinchu Zoo to provide a creative interactive comparison of modern animals in the Zoo with the historical animals depicted in works from the Museum collections.

     "The Birth of Artistic Beasts" guides viewers through the process in which the National Palace Museum traced the roots of ancient animal drawings, and eventually fostered their rebirth through new media as digital artistic beasts. A voice-activated display inspired by a work in the Museum collections, Immortal Blossoms in an Everlasting Spring, is exhibited here, and allows viewers to use their voices to awaken the birds and flowers in the paintings and walk into a torrent of birdsong.Here also, an animated light wall presents the Painting Anime: One Hundred Horses, which is derived from the ancient painting, One Hundred Horses, and shows beautiful horses engaging in various activities in a wondrous landscape. "Ecosystems of Artistic Imagination" further expands the possibilities of animal drawings, and ushers viewers into imaginary ecosystems, such as the Marvels Within the Sea Immersive Interactive Theater, which is based on the work, Rich and Varied Products of the Sea by the Qing artist Nie Huang, and reproduces ancient depictions of aquatic organisms. The Ancient Aquatic Fauna Canopy is also exhibited here, and combines depictions of rare beasts fromMarvelous Sea Monsters and ancient aquatic fauna fromMarvelous Marine Creatures, two important bestiaries of marine organisms collected by the Qing Court. This exhibit explores the artistic imagination toward marine animals during the Qing Dynasty, and allows viewers to lounge among digital illusions of ancient aquatic fauna.

     This exhibition juxtaposes the ancient and modern to explore the changes in the form, history, and ecology of animals, and proceeds to link these to contemporary life using art, technology, and nature, thereby creating a new perspective by which viewers can appreciate artistic beasts.