on December 30, 2000
Taipei's National Palace Museum ranks up there among the top world class museums. It holds the world's largest collection of Chinese artifacts, around 700,000 in all, although at any given time, only a fraction of these is on display. The exhibits include priceless documents and books, priceless prehistoric artifacts, as well as treasures in bronze, porcelain, lacquerware, gold, previous jewels, and the most treasured stone of all China, jade. According to my friend, who is a Taiwanese native, only 60,000 pieces are in display in any given year, and that requires a complete rotation every three months. Which means that it takes almost 12 years for the entire collection to be displayed. In addition, the collection grows with time as donations and acquisitions continue to come in. What is most amazing is that many of these artifacts were once in the possession of Chiang Kai Shek, who as the spokesperson of the Kuomingtan appropriated these and took them out of China when it lost to the Communist revolution. It wasn't until much later when the protests of the people finally convinced him to put these national treasures into the museum. This tale is a little bit different from that written in many tour books, where the KMT supposedly did not want to open a museum because they dreamed of first reuniting China under their own rule before opening a Chinese Museum. So believe what you would, but whatever the story, there is a bright spot. Without Chiang Kai Shek, many of these artifacts would probably have been destroyed during the Cultural Revolution, so I guess there are blessings in everything. There is also a Chang Foundation Museum displaying his own private collection.
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