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  • Facets of Authority: A Special Exhibition of Imperial Portraits from the Nanxun Hall_3

    Facets of Authority: A Special Exhibition of Imperial Portraits from the Nanxun Hall_3

    • Dates: 2021/01/01~2021/04/06
    • Gallery: Exhibition Area I 202,208,212
    CC BY 4.0

    Exhibit

    Is "authority" something that can be seen...?

    The idea of authority may be abstract and difficult to grasp but has always found expression in the visual arts, where its presence has long been seen and felt. The subject of this special exhibition, "imperial portraiture," has often been considered among scholars as simply a form of illustrating these important rulers in history. However, imperial portraits are not only fine works of art, they also represent the fundamentals and "face" of authority itself in Chinese history.

    The emperors and empresses in these portraits reflect people of the highest status and power at the time. But how were the portraits produced to represent the lofty and noble hierarchy of these figures as being above and different from that of ordinary folks? Furthermore, how did viewers of these works discern the figures therein as leaders truly invested with the "authority" to rule?

    To answer these questions, this special exhibition features a select group of imperial portraits done over the dynasties that were stored at the Nanxun Hall in the imperial court during the Qing dynasty. As presented here, the display seeks to demonstrate how artists at different times in the past rendered such facets as visage, pose, apparel, seating, screen arrangement, and decoration on the surface of these paintings to express the majesty of emperors and empresses, thereby allowing the glory of their "authority" to emanate from within. 

    Exhibition Package Content

  • Facets of Authority: A Special Exhibition of Imperial Portraits from the Nanxun Hall_2

    Facets of Authority: A Special Exhibition of Imperial Portraits from the Nanxun Hall_2

    • Dates: 2021/01/01~2021/04/06
    • Gallery: Exhibition Area I 202,208,212
    CC BY 4.0

    Exhibit

    Is "authority" something that can be seen...?

    The idea of authority may be abstract and difficult to grasp but has always found expression in the visual arts, where its presence has long been seen and felt. The subject of this special exhibition, "imperial portraiture," has often been considered among scholars as simply a form of illustrating these important rulers in history. However, imperial portraits are not only fine works of art, they also represent the fundamentals and "face" of authority itself in Chinese history.

    The emperors and empresses in these portraits reflect people of the highest status and power at the time. But how were the portraits produced to represent the lofty and noble hierarchy of these figures as being above and different from that of ordinary folks? Furthermore, how did viewers of these works discern the figures therein as leaders truly invested with the "authority" to rule?

    To answer these questions, this special exhibition features a select group of imperial portraits done over the dynasties that were stored at the Nanxun Hall in the imperial court during the Qing dynasty. As presented here, the display seeks to demonstrate how artists at different times in the past rendered such facets as visage, pose, apparel, seating, screen arrangement, and decoration on the surface of these paintings to express the majesty of emperors and empresses, thereby allowing the glory of their "authority" to emanate from within. 

    Exhibition Package Content

  • Facets of Authority: A Special Exhibition of Imperial Portraits from the Nanxun Hall_1

    Facets of Authority: A Special Exhibition of Imperial Portraits from the Nanxun Hall_1

    • Dates: 2021/01/01~2021/04/06
    • Gallery: Exhibition Area I 202,208,212
    CC BY 4.0

    Exhibit

    Is "authority" something that can be seen...?

    The idea of authority may be abstract and difficult to grasp but has always found expression in the visual arts, where its presence has long been seen and felt. The subject of this special exhibition, "imperial portraiture," has often been considered among scholars as simply a form of illustrating these important rulers in history. However, imperial portraits are not only fine works of art, they also represent the fundamentals and "face" of authority itself in Chinese history.

    The emperors and empresses in these portraits reflect people of the highest status and power at the time. But how were the portraits produced to represent the lofty and noble hierarchy of these figures as being above and different from that of ordinary folks? Furthermore, how did viewers of these works discern the figures therein as leaders truly invested with the "authority" to rule?

    To answer these questions, this special exhibition features a select group of imperial portraits done over the dynasties that were stored at the Nanxun Hall in the imperial court during the Qing dynasty. As presented here, the display seeks to demonstrate how artists at different times in the past rendered such facets as visage, pose, apparel, seating, screen arrangement, and decoration on the surface of these paintings to express the majesty of emperors and empresses, thereby allowing the glory of their "authority" to emanate from within. 

    Exhibition Package Content

  • Pictorial Songs of the Brush: A Guide to Paintings in the National Palace Museum Collection_2

    Pictorial Songs of the Brush: A Guide to Paintings in the National Palace Museum Collection_2

    • Dates: 2021/01/01~2021/04/06
    • Gallery: Exhibition Area I 210
    CC BY 4.0

    Exhibit

    The history of Chinese painting can be compared to a symphony. The styles and traditions in figure, landscape, and bird-and-flower painting have formed themes that continue to blend to this day into a single piece of music. Painters through the ages have made up this "orchestra," composing and performing many movements and variations within this tradition.

    It was from the Six Dynasties (222-589) to the Tang dynasty (618-907) that the foundations of figure painting were gradually established by such major artists as Gu Kaizhi and Wu Daozi. Modes of landscape painting then took shape in the Five Dynasties period (907-960) with variations based on geographic distinctions. For example, Jing Hao and Guan Tong depicted the drier and monumental peaks to the north while Dong Yuan and Juran represented the lush and rolling hills to the south in Jiangnan. In bird-and-flower painting, the noble Tang court manner was passed down in Sichuan through Huang Quan's style, which contrasts with that of Xu Xi in the Jiangnan area.

    In the Song dynasty (960-1279), landscape painters such as Fan Kuan, Guo Xi, and Li Tang created new manners based on previous traditions. The transition in compositional arrangement from grand mountains to intimate scenery also reflected in part the political, cultural, and economic shift to the south. Guided by the taste of the emperor, painters at the court academy focused on observing nature combined with "poetic sentiment" to reinforce the expression of both subject and artist. Painters were also inspired by things around them, leading even to the depiction of technical and architectural elements in the late eleventh century. The focus on poetic sentiment led to the combination of painting, poetry, and calligraphy (the "Three Perfections") in the same work (often as an album leaf or fan) by the Southern Song (1127-1279). Scholars earlier in the Northern Song (960-1126) thought that painting as an art had to go beyond just the "appearance of forms" in order to express the ideas and cultivation of the artist. This became the foundation of the movement known as literati (scholar) painting.

    The goal of literati painters in the Yuan dynasty (1279-1368), including Zhao Mengfu and the Four Yuan Masters (Huang Gongwang, Wu Zhen, Ni Zan, and Wang Meng), was in part to revive the antiquity of the Tang and Northern Song as a starting point for personal expression. This variation on revivalism transformed these old "melodies" into new and personal tunes, some of which gradually developed into important traditions of their own in the Ming and Qing dynasties. As in poetry and calligraphy, the focus on personal cultivation became an integral part of expression in painting.

    Starting from the Ming dynasty (1368-1644), painting often became distinguished into local schools that formed important clusters in the history of art. The styles of "Wu School" artists in the Suzhou area, for example, were based on the cultivated approaches of scholar painting by the Four Yuan Masters. The "Zhe School" consisted mostly of painters from the Zhejiang and Fujian areas; also active at court, they created a direct and liberated manner of monochrome ink painting based on Southern Song models.

    The late Ming master Dong Qichang from Songjiang and the Four Wangs (Wang Shimin, Wang Jian, Wang Hui, and Wang Yuanqi) of the early Qing dynasty (1644-1911) adopted the lofty literati goal of unifying certain ancient styles into a "grand synthesis" so that all in mind and nature could be rendered with brush and ink. The result was the vastly influential "Orthodox School," which was supported by the Manchu Qing emperors. The court also took an interest in Western painting techniques (brought by European missionaries) that involved volume and perspective, which became known to and used by some Chinese painters to create a fused style. Outside the court, the major commercial city of Yangzhou developed the trend toward individualism to become a center for "eccentric" yet professional painters. It also spread to Shanghai, where the styles of artists were also inspired by "non-orthodox" manners, which themselves became models for later artists.

    Thus, throughout the ages, a hallmark of Chinese painting has been the pursuit of individuality and innovation within the framework of one's "symphonic" heritage. This exhibition represents a selection of individual "performances" from the Museum collection arranged in chronological order in order to provide an overview of some major traditions and movements in Chinese painting. 

    Exhibition Package Content

  • Pictorial Songs of the Brush: A Guide to Paintings in the National Palace Museum Collection_1

    Pictorial Songs of the Brush: A Guide to Paintings in the National Palace Museum Collection_1

    • Dates: 2021/01/01~2021/04/06
    • Gallery: Exhibition Area I 210
    CC BY 4.0

    Exhibit

    The history of Chinese painting can be compared to a symphony. The styles and traditions in figure, landscape, and bird-and-flower painting have formed themes that continue to blend to this day into a single piece of music. Painters through the ages have made up this "orchestra," composing and performing many movements and variations within this tradition.

    It was from the Six Dynasties (222-589) to the Tang dynasty (618-907) that the foundations of figure painting were gradually established by such major artists as Gu Kaizhi and Wu Daozi. Modes of landscape painting then took shape in the Five Dynasties period (907-960) with variations based on geographic distinctions. For example, Jing Hao and Guan Tong depicted the drier and monumental peaks to the north while Dong Yuan and Juran represented the lush and rolling hills to the south in Jiangnan. In bird-and-flower painting, the noble Tang court manner was passed down in Sichuan through Huang Quan's style, which contrasts with that of Xu Xi in the Jiangnan area.

    In the Song dynasty (960-1279), landscape painters such as Fan Kuan, Guo Xi, and Li Tang created new manners based on previous traditions. The transition in compositional arrangement from grand mountains to intimate scenery also reflected in part the political, cultural, and economic shift to the south. Guided by the taste of the emperor, painters at the court academy focused on observing nature combined with "poetic sentiment" to reinforce the expression of both subject and artist. Painters were also inspired by things around them, leading even to the depiction of technical and architectural elements in the late eleventh century. The focus on poetic sentiment led to the combination of painting, poetry, and calligraphy (the "Three Perfections") in the same work (often as an album leaf or fan) by the Southern Song (1127-1279). Scholars earlier in the Northern Song (960-1126) thought that painting as an art had to go beyond just the "appearance of forms" in order to express the ideas and cultivation of the artist. This became the foundation of the movement known as literati (scholar) painting.

    The goal of literati painters in the Yuan dynasty (1279-1368), including Zhao Mengfu and the Four Yuan Masters (Huang Gongwang, Wu Zhen, Ni Zan, and Wang Meng), was in part to revive the antiquity of the Tang and Northern Song as a starting point for personal expression. This variation on revivalism transformed these old "melodies" into new and personal tunes, some of which gradually developed into important traditions of their own in the Ming and Qing dynasties. As in poetry and calligraphy, the focus on personal cultivation became an integral part of expression in painting.

    Starting from the Ming dynasty (1368-1644), painting often became distinguished into local schools that formed important clusters in the history of art. The styles of "Wu School" artists in the Suzhou area, for example, were based on the cultivated approaches of scholar painting by the Four Yuan Masters. The "Zhe School" consisted mostly of painters from the Zhejiang and Fujian areas; also active at court, they created a direct and liberated manner of monochrome ink painting based on Southern Song models.

    The late Ming master Dong Qichang from Songjiang and the Four Wangs (Wang Shimin, Wang Jian, Wang Hui, and Wang Yuanqi) of the early Qing dynasty (1644-1911) adopted the lofty literati goal of unifying certain ancient styles into a "grand synthesis" so that all in mind and nature could be rendered with brush and ink. The result was the vastly influential "Orthodox School," which was supported by the Manchu Qing emperors. The court also took an interest in Western painting techniques (brought by European missionaries) that involved volume and perspective, which became known to and used by some Chinese painters to create a fused style. Outside the court, the major commercial city of Yangzhou developed the trend toward individualism to become a center for "eccentric" yet professional painters. It also spread to Shanghai, where the styles of artists were also inspired by "non-orthodox" manners, which themselves became models for later artists.

    Thus, throughout the ages, a hallmark of Chinese painting has been the pursuit of individuality and innovation within the framework of one's "symphonic" heritage. This exhibition represents a selection of individual "performances" from the Museum collection arranged in chronological order in order to provide an overview of some major traditions and movements in Chinese painting. 

    Exhibition Package Content

  • Pictorial Songs of the Brush: A Guide to Paintings in the National Palace Museum Collection

    Pictorial Songs of the Brush: A Guide to Paintings in the National Palace Museum Collection

    • Dates: 2021/04/13~2021/07/15
    • Gallery: Exhibition Area I 210
    CC BY 4.0

    Exhibit

    The history of Chinese painting can be compared to a symphony. The styles and traditions in figure, landscape, and bird-and-flower painting have formed themes that continue to blend to this day into a single piece of music. Painters through the ages have made up this "orchestra," composing and performing many movements and variations within this tradition.

    It was from the Six Dynasties (222-589) to the Tang dynasty (618-907) that the foundations of figure painting were gradually established by such major artists as Gu Kaizhi and Wu Daozi. Modes of landscape painting then took shape in the Five Dynasties period (907-960) with variations based on geographic distinctions. For example, Jing Hao and Guan Tong depicted the drier and monumental peaks to the north while Dong Yuan and Juran represented the lush and rolling hills to the south in Jiangnan. In bird-and-flower painting, the noble Tang court manner was passed down in Sichuan through Huang Quan's style, which contrasts with that of Xu Xi in the Jiangnan area.

    In the Song dynasty (960-1279), landscape painters such as Fan Kuan, Guo Xi, and Li Tang created new manners based on previous traditions. The transition in compositional arrangement from grand mountains to intimate scenery also reflected in part the political, cultural, and economic shift to the south. Guided by the taste of the emperor, painters at the court academy focused on observing nature combined with "poetic sentiment" to reinforce the expression of both subject and artist. Painters were also inspired by things around them, leading even to the depiction of technical and architectural elements in the late eleventh century. The focus on poetic sentiment led to the combination of painting, poetry, and calligraphy (the "Three Perfections") in the same work (often as an album leaf or fan) by the Southern Song (1127-1279). Scholars earlier in the Northern Song (960-1126) thought that painting as an art had to go beyond just the "appearance of forms" in order to express the ideas and cultivation of the artist. This became the foundation of the movement known as literati (scholar) painting.

    The goal of literati painters in the Yuan dynasty (1279-1368), including Zhao Mengfu and the Four Yuan Masters (Huang Gongwang, Wu Zhen, Ni Zan, and Wang Meng), was in part to revive the antiquity of the Tang and Northern Song as a starting point for personal expression. This variation on revivalism transformed these old "melodies" into new and personal tunes, some of which gradually developed into important traditions of their own in the Ming and Qing dynasties. As in poetry and calligraphy, the focus on personal cultivation became an integral part of expression in painting.

    Starting from the Ming dynasty (1368-1644), painting often became distinguished into local schools that formed important clusters in the history of art. The styles of "Wu School" artists in the Suzhou area, for example, were based on the cultivated approaches of scholar painting by the Four Yuan Masters. The "Zhe School" consisted mostly of painters from the Zhejiang and Fujian areas; also active at court, they created a direct and liberated manner of monochrome ink painting based on Southern Song models.

    The late Ming master Dong Qichang from Songjiang and the Four Wangs (Wang Shimin, Wang Jian, Wang Hui, and Wang Yuanqi) of the early Qing dynasty (1644-1911) adopted the lofty literati goal of unifying certain ancient styles into a "grand synthesis" so that all in mind and nature could be rendered with brush and ink. The result was the vastly influential "Orthodox School," which was supported by the Manchu Qing emperors. The court also took an interest in Western painting techniques (brought by European missionaries) that involved volume and perspective, which became known to and used by some Chinese painters to create a fused style. Outside the court, the major commercial city of Yangzhou developed the trend toward individualism to become a center for "eccentric" yet professional painters. It also spread to Shanghai, where the styles of artists were also inspired by "non-orthodox" manners, which themselves became models for later artists.

    Thus, throughout the ages, a hallmark of Chinese painting has been the pursuit of individuality and innovation within the framework of one's "symphonic" heritage. This exhibition represents a selection of individual "performances" from the Museum collection arranged in chronological order in order to provide an overview of some major traditions and movements in Chinese painting. 

    Exhibition Package Content

  • Stories of Ancient Maps

    Stories of Ancient Maps

    • Dates: 2021/04/23~2021/07/22
    • Gallery: Exhibition Area I 103,104
    CC BY 4.0

    Exhibit

    The Kingdom of Tungning was founded in Taiwan in 1662 by Ming loyalist Koxinga (Zheng Chenggong, 1624–1662) after he defeated the Dutch East India Company. During this period, the Qing government knew very little about this far-away place. The Taiwan Luetu (Sketch Map of Taiwan Prefecture), produced around 1666 in both the Manchu and Chinese languages and on display in this exhibition, only covers a few parts of what is today Tainan, which included Luermen Channel, Chikan Tower and Chengtian Prefecture, and focuses on the Koxinga period's military garrisons.

    But by the end of the 17th century (mid-Kangxi reign), the situation had changed dramatically. The Kangxi Taiwan Yutu (Kangxi Taiwan Map) in the National Taiwan Museum collection records the natural and cultural landscapes of western Taiwan at that time from north to south. The depiction of indigenous peoples and their customs also indicates a fair understanding of Taiwan's society, culture, and overall geography.

    The Qianlong Emperor's loosening of restrictions on immigration to Taiwan led to an influx of Han Chinese settlers onto the island. The Qianlong Taiwan Ditu (Qianlong Map of Taiwan), produced in the mid-18th century, shows more than 600 Han Chinese settlements and over 300 aboriginal ones, suggesting rapid population growth. The descriptions "in the mountains" and "beyond the mountains" that accompany with the names of indigenous settlements suggest that the Han Chinese already had certain understanding of Taiwan's eastern coast. 

    Exhibition Package Content

  • The Expressive Significance of Brush and Ink: A Guided Journey Through the History of Chinese Calligraphy

    The Expressive Significance of Brush and Ink: A Guided Journey Through the History of Chinese Calligraphy

    • Dates: 2021/04/03~2021/07/15
    • Gallery: Exhibition Area I 204,206
    CC BY 4.0

    Exhibit

    To meet the need for recording information and ideas, unique forms of calligraphy (the art of writing) have been part of the Chinese cultural tradition through the ages. Naturally finding applications in daily life, calligraphy still serves as a continuous link between the past and the present. The development of calligraphy, long a subject of interest in Chinese culture, is the theme of this exhibit, which presents to the public selections from the National Palace Museum collection arranged in chronological order for a general overview.

    The dynasties of the Qin (221-206 BCE) and Han (206 BCE-220 CE) represent a crucial era in the history of Chinese calligraphy. On the one hand, diverse forms of brushed and engraved "ancient writing" and "large seal" scripts were unified into a standard type known as "small seal." On the other hand, the process of abbreviating and adapting seal script to form a new one known as "clerical" (emerging previously in the Eastern Zhou dynasty) was finalized, thereby creating a universal script in the Han dynasty. In the trend towards abbreviation and brevity in writing, clerical script continued to evolve and eventually led to the formation of "cursive," "running," and "standard" script. Since changes in writing did not take place overnight, several transitional styles and mixed scripts appeared in the chaotic post-Han period, but these transformations eventually led to established forms for brush strokes and characters.

    The dynasties of the Sui (581-618) and Tang (618-907) represent another important period in Chinese calligraphy. Unification of the country brought calligraphic styles of the north and south together as brushwork methods became increasingly complete. Starting from this time, standard script would become the universal form through the ages. In the Song dynasty (960-1279), the tradition of engraving modelbook copies became a popular way to preserve the works of ancient masters. Song scholar-artists, however, were not satisfied with just following tradition, for they considered calligraphy also as a means of creative and personal expression.

    Revivalist calligraphers of the Yuan dynasty (1279-1368), in turning to and advocating revivalism, further developed the classical traditions of the Jin and Tang dynasties. At the same time, notions of artistic freedom and liberation from rules in calligraphy also gained momentum, becoming a leading trend in the Ming dynasty (1368-1644). Among the diverse manners of this period, the elegant freedom of semi-cursive script contrasts dramatically with more conservative manners. Thus, calligraphers with their own styles formed individual paths that were not overshadowed by the mainstream of the time.

    Starting in the Qing dynasty (1644-1911), scholars increasingly turned to inspiration from the rich resource of ancient works inscribed with seal and clerical script. Influenced by an atmosphere of closely studying these antiquities, Qing scholars became familiar with steles and helped create a trend in calligraphy that complemented the Modelbook school. Thus, the Stele school formed yet another link between past and present in its approach to tradition, in which seal and clerical script became sources of innovation in Chinese calligraphy. 

    Exhibition Package Content

  • Introducing a Painting: Exploring the World of Museum Labels_2

    Introducing a Painting: Exploring the World of Museum Labels_2

    • Dates: 2020/04/08~2020/07/05
    • Gallery: Exhibition Area I 212
    CC BY 4.0

    Exhibit

     Exactly how do you introduce in writing a painting to museum visitors? This is a question which exhibit curators have always pondered, the label next to a painting being the most commonly chosen format to serve as its "spokesperson." But what if there were no labels in the exhibition galleries at all? Would people really be able to focus on and appreciate the works on display? And assuming that museum labels are still needed, what kind do visitors really want to see?

    Over the past several decades, and depending on the period and type of the exhibit, the National Palace Museum has used various label formats to accompany its works of painting and calligraphy on display. Through the years, changes have been made to the dimensions, materials, color, position, wording, contents, and translation of these cards. This exhibition takes a special look at the subject of museum labels through seven paintings in the Museum collection by the Yuan dynasty artist Ni Zan (1301-1374) or after his style. These works spanning the Yuan to Ming and Qing dynasties appear at first glance to be quite similar, but each is accompanied by a different kind of label used in the past. These Chinese and English museum cards range in length from a brief title label to very detailed descriptions. There are also Chinese explanatory cards calligraphed in brush using traditional vertical columns of characters and a modern horizontally formatted one in print. On one hand, visitors standing before the display cases can compare the various combinations of artworks and labels to gauge their different effects, while on the other hand they can appreciate firsthand an experience from the past of the written description at the Museum.

    In addition to being a retrospective of the National Palace Museum's explanatory labels for painting, this exhibition also features a questionnaire to determine how audiences feel about the different label formats, fonts, sizes, and descriptions on display. It is hoped that, after receiving feedback from visitors from different age groups, occupations, and nationalities, the Museum can improve the design and contents of its explanatory labels in the future and see how people would like them to "introduce a painting," thereby offering better service and an enhanced museum experience.

    Exhibition Package Content

  • Introducing a Painting: Exploring the World of Museum Labels_1

    Introducing a Painting: Exploring the World of Museum Labels_1

    • Dates: 2020/04/08~2020/07/05
    • Gallery: Exhibition Area I 212
    CC BY 4.0

    Exhibit

    Exactly how do you introduce in writing a painting to museum visitors? This is a question which exhibit curators have always pondered, the label next to a painting being the most commonly chosen format to serve as its "spokesperson." But what if there were no labels in the exhibition galleries at all? Would people really be able to focus on and appreciate the works on display? And assuming that museum labels are still needed, what kind do visitors really want to see?

    Over the past several decades, and depending on the period and type of the exhibit, the National Palace Museum has used various label formats to accompany its works of painting and calligraphy on display. Through the years, changes have been made to the dimensions, materials, color, position, wording, contents, and translation of these cards. This exhibition takes a special look at the subject of museum labels through seven paintings in the Museum collection by the Yuan dynasty artist Ni Zan (1301-1374) or after his style. These works spanning the Yuan to Ming and Qing dynasties appear at first glance to be quite similar, but each is accompanied by a different kind of label used in the past. These Chinese and English museum cards range in length from a brief title label to very detailed descriptions. There are also Chinese explanatory cards calligraphed in brush using traditional vertical columns of characters and a modern horizontally formatted one in print. On one hand, visitors standing before the display cases can compare the various combinations of artworks and labels to gauge their different effects, while on the other hand they can appreciate firsthand an experience from the past of the written description at the Museum.

    In addition to being a retrospective of the National Palace Museum's explanatory labels for painting, this exhibition also features a questionnaire to determine how audiences feel about the different label formats, fonts, sizes, and descriptions on display. It is hoped that, after receiving feedback from visitors from different age groups, occupations, and nationalities, the Museum can improve the design and contents of its explanatory labels in the future and see how people would like them to "introduce a painting," thereby offering better service and an enhanced museum experience. 

    Exhibition Package Content

Last Update: 2017-09-20