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    A New Era for the Museum Collection: An Exhibition of Calligraphic Couplets by Modern and Contemporary Masters

    • Dates: 2016/06/01~2016/08/25
    • Gallery: Exhibition Area I 105


    The great collection of painting and calligraphy at the National Palace Museum did not appear overnight. This collection originally derived from the former holdings of the Qing dynasty Imperial Household Department, representing treasures that had been amassed by the court over the ages. After the Republic of China government moved to Taiwan in 1949, the collection has still continued to expand. Not only has great effort been made to purchase artifacts, donations of works from generous individuals, collectors, and institutional groups have been accepted, creating a solid foundation for the sustained development of the Museum collection. Over the past few decades, more than 6,000 works of painting and calligraphy have been acquired, their quality comparable to the quantity as well.

    Successful collection expansion indicates that operations at the National Palace Museum have been able to keep up with the times and receive support from the people. Together, the roots of Chinese culture have taken hold in this new era. In looking back on the past, the Museum expresses its gratitude to all members of society who have selflessly and generously done the right thing by contributing donations to the collection, choosing a special gallery devoted to the theme of "A New Era for the Museum Collection." Considering the numerous donations, they are being exhibited in installments with works purchased after coming to Taiwan and those entrusted to the collection. Together, they serve as a shining example of how the government and the people can unite to preserve and present the glories of Chinese art and culture.

    The couplet as a format traces back in China to the Five Dynasties period (907-960), when paired sentences were used to convey auspicious content. Later, two separate pieces of paper were used to write the contents and form a couplet. Following changes over time, scholars came to compete to see who could best match lines of poetry and prose, leading to elaborately produced couplet sentences. Conveyed with beautiful calligraphy, the couplets were hung on the walls of halls and study rooms to become a unique form of artistic expression. Because couplets were originally hung on columns as well, they were also known as "column couplets." This exhibition, following in the footsteps of previous installments of "A New Era for the Museum Collection," focuses on recent acquisitions of select couplets from the twentieth century, including a total of 50 sets. They allow audiences to appreciate fine examples of twentieth-century Chinese calligraphy through the unique and marvelous manners. These new acquisitions of calligraphy not only greatly expand the scope and period range of the National Palace Museum collection, their contents are also rich and varied, fully tracing historical developments for a new facet to the Museum collection.

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    O?-ma?i-padme-h??: Tibetan Buddhist Art in the National Palace Museum

    • Dates: 2016/05/03~2016/11/06
    • Gallery: Exhibition Area I 103,104


    Tibetan Buddhism spread to China during the Yuan dynasty (1271-1368), an empire founded by Kublai Khan (1215-1294) who revered lamas. Later on, during the Ming and the Qing dynasties (1368-1911), lamas came to be honored by people from all walks of life, from members of the imperial families to the common souls, and for reasons ranging from political expediency to religious faith. Followers of the religion scrambled to seek empowerments from lamas, to paint portraits or make statues of Buddhist figures, to chant mantras, to practice meditation, and to build monasteries and stupas. Even more so was the translation and printing of Tibetan Buddhist classics, which was considered state enterprise.

    This exhibition centers on the Kangxi Kangyur (the Tibetan Dragon Canon), and includes such artifacts as Buddhist texts, paintings, ritual objects, and gilt-bronze statues. It comprises six sections. The first, "Unparalleled Treasure, " showcases the decorative and wrapping accessories of the Kangxi Kangyur, and the second, "Three Turns of the Dharma Wheel, " the contents of the Kangxi Kangyur. The third, "Beyond the Four Seas, "highlights the Buddhist classics from which Tibetan Buddhist texts were translated, along with Chinese, Manchu, and Mongolian versions of translated Tibetan Buddhist classics. The fourth, "Tibetan Chants on Chinese Land, "covers Chinese-language books of Tibetan Buddhist mantras, and the fifth, "The Venerable Community, " images from the Kangxi Kangyur's cover planks, ritual objects, and paintings, which are grouped into five categories, including buddhas, bodhisattvas, and guardians of the Dharma. The sixth section, "Preserved Treasury of Scriptures" is a situational presentation that features a library of Tibetan Buddhist texts based on the reproduced Co-ne version of the Kangyur.

    The National Palace Museum boasts a rich and rare collection of Tibetan Buddhist artifacts. What is presented here is a fine selection of the crème de la crème of the holdings. It is hoped that the exhibition will offer the audience a glimpse into the distinctive features of these objects.

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    A Gathering of Treasures in the National Palace Museum North and South

    • Dates: 2016/05/03~2016/10/06
    • Gallery: Exhibition Area I 302


    The Ganges River flowing through the Indian subcontinent gave rise to the long and established culture of India. Several important religions that came to have a major influence on not only Asia but also the world originated there, including Hinduism, Buddhism, and later Sikhism. This great river civilization gave birth to, nourished, and allowed them to flourish. Accompanying the flow of religions, peoples, and materials, the influence of Indian culture also spread to regions in East, West, and Southeast Asia, bringing derivations and developments that yielded great inspiration for the arts and cultures of those places.

    On display here are two fascinating and stylistically unique works of art, "Umā-Maheśvara" from 10th-century Kashmir and "Hanuman Figure in Underglaze Blue and Overglaze Colors" from 15th-century Vietnam. It is hoped that audiences can appreciate the beauty of Indian and Vietnamese art as well as the allure of the literary and religious traditions behind these two areas. People can also understand better the intimate sparks of exchange between South and Southeast Asia as well as experience the pluralism of Asian styles!

    Exhibition Package Content

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    he Art and Aesthetics of Form: Select Landscape Paintings of the Ming and Qing Dynasties

    • Dates: Permanent Exhibit 2016/04/02~2016/06/12
    • Gallery: Exhibition Area I 202,212


    The history of Chinese painting can be compared to a symphony. The styles and traditions in figure, landscape, and bird-and-flower painting formed themes that have continued to blend into a single piece of music. Painters, who make up this "orchestra," have composed and performed many movements and variations.

    In the Song dynasty (960-1279), landscape painters such as Fan Kuan, Guo Xi, and Li Tang created new manners based on previous models. Guided by artistically-inclined emperors, painting at the Song court academy reached new heights. Moreover, Song scholars expanded the realm of visual expression beyond "formal likeness," marking the beginnings of literati painting as a new trend in art. The goal of literati painters in the following Yuan dynasty (1279-1368), including Zhao Mengfu and the Four Yuan Masters (Huang Gongwang, Wu Zhen, Ni Zan, Wang Meng), was in part to revive antiquity as a starting point for personal expression, giving revivalism a wide range of styles. These old "melodies" transformed into new individual "tunes" gradually developed into important traditions in the Ming and Qing dynasties, and this exhibition focuses on the tradition of landscape painting from these two periods.

    Starting from the Ming dynasty (1368-1644), painting is often distinguished into local schools, forming important clusters in the history of art. The “Wu School” in the Suzhou area, for example, followed the cultivated approach of scholar painting by the Four Yuan Masters. The "Zhe School," on the other hand, consisted mostly of artists from the Zhejiang and Fujian areas inspired by academic painting, creating a bold form of ink painting based on Southern Song models. Finally, Dong Qichang of Songjiang and later the Four Wangs (Wang Shimin, Wang Jian, Wang Hui, Wang Yuanqi) adopted the lofty literati goal of unifying ancient styles into a "grand synthesis" to render landscapes of the mind with brush and ink, yielding the vastly influential "Orthodox School."

    The emperors of the Qing dynasty (1644-1911) not only supported the "Orthodox School" but also took an interest in Western painting (brought by European missionaries) involving volume and perspective, which was used for new interpretations of old models. Outside the court, the commercial city of Yangzhou became home to a group of so-called "eccentric" yet professional painters active in the flourishing art market. The styles and forms of expression among these artists were based on "non-orthodox" manners, which in turn transformed them into models for change and innovation among later generations.

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    The Dragon of Calligraphy: Select Examples of "Shiqi Modelbook" Through the Ages

    • Dates: 2016/04/02~2016/06/26
    • Gallery: Exhibition Area I 204,206


    "Shiqi Modelbook" is a collection of letters written by Wang Xizhi (303-361; venerated as China's "Sage Calligrapher") in his late years to friends and takes its name from the first two characters of the first letter: shiqi ("seventeen"). The original "Shiqi Modelbook" appeared as early as the Tang dynasty (618-907) but no longer survives. Fortunately, people in the past often made copies, imitations, and engravings of it. Along with descriptions found in catalogues, these sources provide a window for reconstructing what the original model looked like. The original, done mainly in cursive script, featured fluid brushwork and strong, forceful lines that were even and elegant. Thus, by the Song dynasty, the Imperial Librarian Huang Bosi (1079-1118) praised this work as the "Dragon of Calligraphy."

    Since its first appearance, "Shiqi Modelbook" has been an icon for the study of calligraphy in China. For example, a partial copy dating from the Tang dynasty has been uncovered at Dunhuang, and one of the letters, "Hanshi Modelbook," was also copied by Su Shi (1037-1101) of the Northern Song. During the following Yuan and Ming dynasties, different versions of "Shiqi Modelbook" had come into circulation (both in album leaf and handscroll format), including representative examples by Zhao Mengfu (1254-1322) in the Yuan, Dong Qichang (1555-1636) of the late Ming, and Zhu Dayou (dates unknown). Of particular note, Yu He’s (1307-1382) conscious enlarging of the characters and composing them into a vertical scroll represented a major new direction in the history of this modelbook. During the middle to late Ming dynasty, the private printing of engraved modelbooks had become a trend. Although the paper and ink used in such engravings of "Shiqi Modelbook" as those from the Yugang Study and Yuqing Study could not compete with the archaic quality of Song dynasty versions, they still played an important role in the transmission of this paradigmatic work. In the Qing dynasty, Wang Shu's (1668-1739) imitation captured both its spirit and form in a faithful and complete rendering. The Qianlong emperor (1711-1799), also an avid calligrapher, also presented the modelbook in various ways, while Liu Yong (1720-1805) used gold ink to transcribe it in a strongly decorative manner. This work was then given new life following the establishment of the Republic of China, such as in the majestically powerful style of Tan Yankai (1880-1930) and the carefully precise rendering of Pu Ru (1896-1963), showing how the theory of injecting new ideas into established models of calligraphy was put into practice.

    This exhibition includes thirteen examples of or related to "Shiqi Modelbook" through the ages in the National Palace Museum collection. Together, they present the beauty of this illustrious work, the influence it exerted, and its transmission in the history of Chinese calligraphy.

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    Painting and Calligraphy Donated to the National Palace Museum

    • Dates: 2016/04/02~2016/06/12
    • Gallery: Exhibition Area I 208


    Although the National Palace Museum is renowned throughout the world for its unparalleled collection of Chinese artifacts in terms of both quantity and quality, the realm of art should extend beyond the confines of time and space as well as other boundaries. For this reason, the Museum continues to make every effort to expand its collection and provide audiences with an even more complete cultural perspective. Expansion of the Museum collection, in addition to utilizing a budget allocated for purchasing objects, also includes a Works that meet the acquisition needs of the Museum are gladly welcomed, encouraging all to participate in serving the public interest and to share the glory of our cultural heritage.

    Since the National Palace Museum was built in Taipei in 1965, many generous individuals and organizations have donated or bequeathed artworks to its collection. However, restrictions concerning the display of painting and calligraphy as well as the limited exhibit space at the Museum make it impossible to present them all on a permanent basis. Although representing a small portion of the numerous donations, a special selection of these treasures is being presented in this display gallery. By allowing in-depth study of these works of painting and calligraphy via the promotion of museum education, visitors can truly understand and appreciate their cultural heritage. Realizing that a great collection is not built in a day, the National Palace Museum also hereby expresses its gratitude to the selfless collectors who have contributed works. It is hoped that individuals and groups from all walks of life will continue to participate in this grand undertaking to make the National Palace Museum truly an institution of and for the people.

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    Oversized Hanging Scrolls

    • Dates: Permanent Exhibit 2016/04/02~2016/06/26
    • Gallery: Exhibition Area I 202
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    Painting Animation: Along the River During the Qingming Festival

    • Dates: 2016/04/01~2016/06/28
    • Gallery: Exhibition Area I 102


    Along the River During the Qingming Festival
    The Qing Court Artists, Qing dynasty
    Handscroll, ink and color on silk, 35.6×1152.8 cm

    "Along the River During the Qingming Festival" is a masterpiece of realistic genre painting, with many copies of it being done over the centuries. This version, a collaborative effort of five Qing court artists: Chen Mei, Sun Hu, Jin Kun, Dai Hong and Cheng Zhidao, was completed in 1736, the first year of the Qianlong Emperor’s reign. Known as the "Qing court version," the handscroll is quite rich, following the styles and contents of previous versions. With its bright coloring and mature brushwork, the ruled-line representation of the architecture and the rendering of the figures are fine and exact, and it is an invaluable source of study for both later Ming and Qing society and customs.

    Exhibition Package Content

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    Synthesis and Departure in Tradition: Painting, Calligraphy, and Dong Qichang (1555-1636)

    • Dates: 2016/01/09~2016/03/29
    • Gallery: Exhibition Area I 202,204,206,208,210,212


    Dong Qichang, style name Xuanzai and sobriquet Sibai (also Xiangguang jushi), was a native of Huating (modern Shanghai). He was awarded the Presented Scholar (jinshi) degree in 1589, appointed as a Hanlin Bachelor, eventually reached the post of Minister of Rites at court, and was posthumously given the name Wenmin.

    Dong Qichang was not only the leader of art circles in the late Ming dynasty but also a master of his generation who later inspired countless painters and calligraphers. Both his theories and works of art were quite innovative, the realm to which he aspired in tradition called "marvelous at synthesis, divine at departure." In his wide-ranging pursuit of paintings by famous artists of old, Dong developed a new approach to describe the historical development of painting since the Tang dynasty by dividing it into "Northern and Southern Schools." He also transcended traditional boundaries of imitating the ancients by taking the unprecedented step of elevating the abstract beauty of brush and ink into a new visual dynamism. This both gave rise to a unique personal style of painting and expressed his ultimate pursuit in the art of painting--the practice and promotion of a "Grand Synthesis" serving as a turning point for later literati painting. In calligraphy, Dong Qichang tended towards classical elegance and untrammeled beauty in traditional styles, also advocating the view of copying as a way to innovate within tradition. Becoming head of late Ming calligraphy circles, his style was much admired by early Qing rulers and was the source for court calligraphers in the Qing dynasty. Dong was also an excellent connoisseur of painting and calligraphy, and many masterpieces by the ancients passed before his eyes and/or became a part of his collection. These works helped him to formulate unique theories of painting and calligraphy continually manifested in his ideas about and practice of art. In fact, many of Dong Qichang’s views still have a profound impact on studying the history of painting and calligraphy up to this day.

    This special exhibition on Dong Qichang features selected works of his painting and calligraphy from the more than 300 in his name at the National Palace Museum. It also includes important artworks once seen or collected by him. To clearly present the progression of Dong Qichang’s art and ideas, the exhibit revolves around his numerous dated works, presenting them chronologically as much as possible to provide viewers with a better understanding of his life and artistic accomplishments.

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    Painting Anime 'Syzygy of the Sun, Moon, and the Five Planets'

    • Dates: 2016/01/05~2016/03/01
    • Gallery: Exhibition Area I 102


    Since 2011 the National Palace museum initiated 'Painting Anime', which are six series of high-resolution long scroll painting animation. Through the latest technology, four high-resolution 1080 HD projectors seamlessly unfold long scroll paintings on the light wall to present the classical scenery in Chinese paintings. 'Painting Anime' reproduced six popular paintings, including Up the River During Qingming (Qing court artists), Spring Morning in the Han Palace (Qiu Ying), Imitating Zhao Bosu's Latter Ode on Red Cliff (Wen Zhengming), Syzygy of the Sun, Moon, and the Five Planets (Xu Yang), Departure Herald (anonymous), Return Clearing (anonymous) and Activities of the Twelve Months (Qing court artists). Inspired by historical material related to the artworks, the six pieces of animations faithfully present the true spirit of the original paintings and their most attractive parts.

    About 'Syzygy of the Sun, Moon, and the Five Planets': On the first day of the first month in the Emperor Qian Lung's 26th Year (1761/02/05), the Directorate of the Imperial Observatory observed the astronomical phenomenon of the Sun and Moon both rising together and the Five Planets lined up, an event known as a syzygy. Officials therefore predicted it would be a year of peace throughout the land and of a bountiful harvest. Xu Yang was then commissioned to make a painting recording this rare and auspicious omen. Also a description of New Year's Day, civil and military officials are seen entering the court to congratulate the emperor and people throughout the capital have gone out to greet the New Year. This handsroll depicts the observatory and various courtyard residences in detail as well as archways and gates of the city. There are festive scenes of people in various forms of clothing and transportation, and all sorts of shops and their arches, fully reflecting the appearance of life in Beijing at the time.

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Last Update: 2017-09-20