Bears have always been a symbol of physical strength in Chinese society. Though often seen in Chinese artefacts, bears are seldom used as a theme for exhibitions. The Universiade, an internationally multi-sport event, takes place in Taipei this year. The mascot for which is “Bravo”, a Formosan black bear, an endemic species in Taiwan. National Palace Museum in Taipei takes this precious opportunity to present an exhibition showcasing a collection of artefacts in bear forms.
We are going to introduce the highlights of this exhibition. The first one is a pair of bear-shaped zun vessels – consist of a jade vessel from the Qing dynasty and a bronze vessel from the Han dynasty. The bronze bear has its hairs outlined in gold and silver filaments. Its forehead and eyes are inlaid with semi-precious stones. The succinct lines and opulent decoration suggest it is a remnant from an object of the Han dynasty. Qing jade bear is an imitation of the bronze bear, both in size and shape. The form is straightforward and smooth, exhibiting the qualities sought in jades patterned after antiquity in the Qianlong reign.
The following one is a Jade “boy and bear” from the Qing dynasty, carved from a piece of jade naturally divided into black and white parts. The shorter white part is a stout and rounded figure of a boy using long lines while the long black part is a bear, defined by incised lines for the hairs on its body. The sculpture depicts an interesting interaction between the two. Instead of a tense scene, it is more like the boy and the bear holding hands in a dance.
The last one is a Celadon bear lamp from Wu to Western Jin period. The lamp with a bear consists of three parts for the oil receptacle, lamppost, and three-legged dish. The most eye-catching part of this piece is a small cute bear squatting in the dish to hold the oil receptacle. The chest and the abdomen of the bear are decorated with texturing and engraved lines, as well as markings to indicate the tail area behind.
Bravo at the NPM
Exhibition period: 2017/8/1 - 10/31
Venue: 302, Northern Branch Exhibition Area, National Palace Museum, Taipei
Taipei National Palace Museum
Opening hours (exhibition I):
Sundays to Thursdays｜8:30am - 6:30pm
Fridays to Saturdays｜8:30am - 9pm
Address: 221 Section 2 of Zhishan Road, Shihlin District, Taipei
Group｜NT$230 (groups of 10 or more)
Discount｜NT$150 (Students with valid international student ID)
Free｜Children under school age / People with disabilities and one accompanying person