National Palace Museum Presents Masterpieces of National Treasure Grade

The National Palace Museum boasts its collection of paintings and calligraphies, which belongs to the category of “Historic Artifacts (Antiquities)". These art objects carrying cultural importance can be further divided into three groups, from the most important one of "National Treasures" to that of "Significant Historic Artifacts (Significant Antiquities)" and finally "General Historic Artifacts (General Antiquities)."

To promote a better understanding of the classification of historic artifacts, the National Palace Museum organizes an exhibition titled “The Making of a National Treasure: Select Masterpieces of Painting and Calligraphy in the Museum Collection”. It features a selection of 45 works of painting and calligraphy, of which 34 are "National Treasures" and eleven are "Significant Historic Artifacts."

Wang Xizhi (303-361). Timely Clearing after Snowfall. Jin Dynasty

Timely Clearing after Snowfall, created by Wang Xizhi (the Sage of Calligraphy), is undoubtedly the highlight of the exhibition. No originals by Wang survive today, but this work as a faithful tracing copy from the Tang dynasty (608-907) serves as one of the most important pieces of visual evidence for later generations to understand his calligraphy. The quality of this piece is exceptional and its collection history fully documented as well. For example, collection seals of Emperor Gaozong in the Southern Song, Emperor Zhangzong of the Jin dynasty, the Yuan imperial court, and the Ming dynasty appear on this work. Then it became one of the "Three Rarities" of the Qianlong emperor in the Qing dynasty, making it of exceptional historic, cultural and artistic value.

Emperor Huizong of Song (1082-1135). Poem. Song Dynasty.

Emperor Huizong of Song ‘s Poem is another focal point at the exhibition. Huizong was the eighth emperor of the Northern Song dynasty and also exceptionally gifted in the arts of painting and calligraphy. This work on silk with a grid in red ink is a transcription of a five-character regulated poem. At the end of the scroll is an inscription for "Product of the Xuanhe Hall" and the impression of a seal for "Yushu" (Imperial calligraphy). The strokes throughout are thin and bony, being strong yet spirited. The application and lifting of the brush give particular emphasis to concealing and exposing the tip as well as turning and other movements. Most examples of Huizong's calligraphy survive as regular script inscriptions of small to medium size. The characters here, however, are quite large, making the scroll an exceptional treasure.

Tang Yin (1470-1523). Fishing in Reclusion among Mountains and Rivers. Ming Dynasty.

Speaking of renowned painters and calligraphers, Tang Yin (one of the "Four Masters of Ming dynasty”) is definitely not to be missed out. Tang's Fishing in Reclusion among Mountains and Rivers depicts pines with red maple and yellowing leaves set against a stream roaring from a waterfall. Thatched cottage and waterside pavilion buildings appear here and there among the banks and rocks. Figures grasp a knee in conversation, walk with a staff, gaze at fishing from a railing, or play a flute with feet dangling in the water. The use of brush and ink throughout is marvellous, the colours beautiful, making this a classic example most representative of Tang Yin's achievement in the art of painting.

Please take note that Wang Xizhi’s Timely Clearing after Snowfall and Emperor Huizong of Song’s Poem are labelled as “restricted display works”. They are on display in from 4 Oct to 14 November and will not be available for public viewing after the limited period.


The Making of a National Treasure: Select Masterpieces of Painting and Calligraphy in the Museum Collection

Exhibition: 2017/10/4 - 12/25 (Restricted Display Works changed on the evening of Nov.14)
Venue: Galleries 210, 212, 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
Enquiries: 886-2-6610-3600