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Great Arts, Culinary Exhibitions and Events in Taiwan's National Palace Museum and Other Places

Taiwan's National Palace Museum is home to the priceless remnants of the greatest art collection in the history of mankind: the legendary treasure of dynastic China. Although the museum was opened in 1965, the collection itself dates back to the founding of the Hanlin Academy by the Song Dynasty over a hundred years ago, and contains pieces well over 5,000 years old. Expanded by the Cing emperors, the collection was moved around China several times during the political and military turmoil of the 20th century, until the current collection, representing 4,800 cases of the most valuable pieces, was sent to Taiwan for safe keeping from the Commun ists in 1948. The remaining 15,000 cases of priceless treasures were destroyed or dispersed.

On display are ancient bronzes, delicately carved jade, porcelain and pottery, richly wrought tapestries and embroidery, enamels, calligraphy, paintings, thousands of rare books from the imperial library, the personal seals of the emperors and their retinue of eunuchs and concubines, thousands of palace records and historical documents, letters and diaries, Buddhist and Sanskrit texts. The collection includes some of the earliest examples of writing in existence, such as the San Pan Basin, a wide and shallow bronze basin with two handles dating from the 9th or 8th centuries B.C. On the bottom of the basin is an inscription recording the peaceful settlement of a border dispute between two rival war lords, and as such is one of the earliest intact examples of writing in the world. Another artifact popular with visitors is the famous Jade Cabbage, in which the varied colors of the stone are incorporated ingeniously into the carving of the cabbage, with its near-white root and dark green leaves. Nestling deep within the leaves and carved from the same stone are a locust and a katydid. The cabbage is a symbol of purity, while the insects suggest fertility. The sculpture was originally part of the dowry of a Cing Princess.

After two years of renovation, the National Palace Museum will re-open with a brand new look on December 25, 2006. This is the first big-scale renovation the museum has undertaken since its establishment in 1965.

To mark the museum's reopening, the highly anticipated "Grand View: Painting, Calligraphy and Ju Ware from the Northern Song Dynasty, and Song Dynasty Rare Books" will be held. The Grand View exhibition will be divided into two phases due to the fragile nature of these precious ancient works of art. The first phase of the exhibition will last from December 25, 2006 to February 8, 2007 with the second phase following from February 9, 2007 to March 25, 2007.

The Northern Song dynasty, although not as powerful as the more famous Han or Tang dynasties, is regarded as one of the most culturally vibrant dynasties in Chinese history. The arts of peace under the Northern Song were highly developed, and many of the precious paintings, calligraphy, rare books and artifacts have been preserved in the museum. In addition to the museum's own collection, the Metropolitan Museum in New York and Nielsen-Atkins Museum have loaned several priceless paintings from the same period as the Grand View exhibition. In addition to art, 30 of the two 200 texts from the Northern Song will be on display. These rare books are famed for their exquisite calligraphy and fascinating content.

The Grand View exhibition will also present the Museum's complete collection of Ju ware from the Song dynasty. During the Song dynasty, ceramic ware achieved its pinnacle. Named after the kiln where it was fired, the five most celebrated types of Song ceramic include Ju Kiln, Guan Kiln, Jyun Kiln, Ge Kiln and Ding Kiln, among which Ju is widely regarded as the most precious, as it was from the Ju Kiln that the ceramic ware used by the royal families came from. It is reckoned that there are only around seventy Ju pieces extant worldwide, twenty-one of which are owned by the National Palace Museum. In addition to its own collection, the Percival David Foundation of the University of London and China's Henan Province Bureau of Cultural Artifacts have lent their Ju ware for the exhibition. Also on display will be some exquisite celadon works from Japan's Nagoya Ceramics Hall, making the Grand View even more comprehensive.

In the immediate neighborhood of the National Palace Museum are many other interesting things to see and do. Chief among them is Yangmingshan. Only 40 minutes from downtown Taipei, this mountain is dotted with natural volcanic hot springs, many of which are now fashionable health resorts. On the mountain there is a National Park and a number of nature reserves which are home to many of Taiwan's famous bird and butterfly species. There are nature trails and hiking tracks. In spring, the forests are thick with flowers, cherry blossom and azalea, and in summer the cool mountain air offers a welcome retreat from the heat of the city.

In addition to the long awaited Grand View exhibition and the reopening of the newly renovated National Palace Museum, there are other fascinating arts festivals or exhibitions around Taiwan this autumn. In October, the bi-annual Hualien International Stone Sculpture Festival will be held. Against the beautiful view of Hualien Port, colorful tents will be erected, with artists from around Taiwan and abroad invited to create stone sculptures in the open air in the park of the Cultural Bureau of Hualien County. The artists will work for the whole month of October and visitors will able to witness the process and interact with the artists. At the end of the festival, all the finished pieces will be left permanently on display along with works from the previous festivals. Throughout the festival, live performances of dance and music will be given in the evening.

Taiwan's Hualien is located in an area of frequent tectonic movements, resulting in a rich hoard of various types of stones. Hualien boasts around 90% of Taiwan's quarried stone resources, and is the world's second biggest stone exporter. Because of this natural advantage and the joint promotion of various organizations and groups, Hualien has attracted many stone sculptors to settle and start their own workshops here. Visitors are recommended to visit the Hualien County Stone Sculptural Museum. Inside the museum are seven areas: two of them display modern sculptures from local and international artists. The third area is specifically for traditional stone sculptures seen in daily life and on religious architecture. The other areas include a digital information center, profiles of the works' creators, and displays on Hualien's stone resources.

Taiwan's pottery industry is centered on the town of Yingge, whose Ceramics Museum displays beautifully painted traditional Chinese vases as well as the work of contemporary ceramicists. There are many studios in the town where visitors can watch the craftsmen at work and buy their pieces. Every year Yingge holds an International Ceramics Festival, which has become a major tourist event in Taiwan over the years. This year the event will be held from October 9 to October 29. Different activities are planned for the whole of Yingge township in places like the ceramics old street, Wunhua Road, Yingge Railway Station and the Taipei County Yingge Ceramics Museum. Live pottery making, firing and teaching, folk performances, the Welcoming of the Pottery Deity, flea market and artists' fair are, among others, some of the events visitors may experience during the Festival.

This October, there is another event in Taiwan that's scheduled to take place. Not too many people know that Taiwan, in addition to rice, grains and many different kinds of tropical fruits, also grows coffee. In Taiwan's Yunlin County, a small township called Gukeng used to be one of Taiwan's three coffee growing areas during the Japanese occupation. Back then most of the coffee was consumed by the Japanese living in Taiwan, while some of it was also exported to Japan. After the restoration of Taiwan, coffee growing was dropped by the local farmers and was replaced by other crops such as rice. It was not until the town was severely damaged by the famous 921 earthquake that the local farmers remembered this valuable and once-flourishing crop and used it to re-establish the township. Within the last few years over 60 cafés have opened up in this small town. The town started the coffee festival in 2003, which was instantly a big success, attracting thousands of tourists and creating good word of mouth for locally grown, Taiwanese coffee. During the festival, live music performances are given and cafés here organize all kinds of coffee-related activities, continuing the hundred-year-old story of Taiwan's coffee growing industry.

So here you have more great reasons to visit Taiwan, whether it's to try new blends of great coffee, to see authentic Chinese art and ceramics both old and new, or to witness artists and craftsmen at work. There are many other interesting arts and cultural events in Taiwan. Make Taiwan your next travel destination and start planning your trip now to see all these wonderful events!

 

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Lion’s Head Mountain and Beipu

Exploring the Valley of the Glowing Sky

Fruit of the Angels

Its Cake Culture

The Amazing Bamboo

Yilan’s Kumquats

Lovely Nanzhuang

The Sea of Flowers in Xinshe Festival

Healthful Eating and Delicious Flavors

The Black King Kong of Yuanchang

From Art Brush to Beauty Brush

A Strange Fruit

The Sound of Drums

Zuoying Wannian Folklore Festival

The Hot Springs of Beitou

Simakusi (Smangus)

Meinong

Water Frolics

Overnighting on the Northeast Coast

Giant Buddha, Old Temples, and Glass Art

Mt. Beidawu

The Most Joyous Thing in the World is Music

Taiwan Fun on the Tropic of Cancer

FUN WITH CHINESE - Men in the Fields during Rain

NK 101 Tea @ Style

Taitung Backpack Bus Trip

The Life of Pi

Taipei’s East District Where the Art of Shopping Is Serious Business

Spring Onion Country Yilan's Sanxing Township Offers Ideal Conditions for Cultivating Scallions

Sandy Beaches, Rocky Coastline, Quiet Country A Whirlwind Tour Round Hengchun Peninsula

What Happened at Wushe

Confucius Day

Keeping It in the Family: I Wan Jan Puppet Theater

Taiwan Has a Unique Culture

Welcoming the Year of the Rabbit and the ROC's 100 Years

All the Flowers You Can Dream Of

Music from the Marshland

Pristine Scenes

Fierce Faces

Following the Tide

A Wonderful World Out There

Off to the Beach and the Rocks

Taiwan’s Easy Rider Goes Into the Wild

HAKKA TUNG BLOSSOM FESTIVAL

Taipei Int'l Flora Expo

HIDDEN HOT SPRINGS & LANDFORMS

JOURNEY into the PAST

YOUNG, GIFTED, AND DEAF

Taiwan's Ultra Man Going Beyond Extreme

Rice by Any Other Name

Taiwan is Beautiful!

TAIPEI EYE

Slate Houses and Mud Rivers

From Fir Formosa

Touring Kaohsiung by KMART

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Taoyuan HSR Station

Taking Taiwan's Slow Train

Bus Trip to Central Taiwan

Establishing a Beautiful Taiwan

High Mountain Ecology

Exploring High Mountain HighsTaiwan at Her Peaks

Cultural Tourism in Taiwan:What's in It for You?

Getting to Know Taiwan's Indigenous Cultures

Leaving Stress Behind

Taiwan! "Feel Good" Country

Exploring Taiwan's Rural Side

Aboriginal Tribes & Festivals

The Famous Lantern Festival in Taiwan

Night Markets in Taiwan

Great Arts, Culinary Exhibitions and Events in Taiwan's National Palace Museum and Other Places

Mountains in Taiwan

Water Fun in Taiwan

Taiwanese Arts, Arts Festivals and Interesting Artifacts

"Taiwan's Ghost Festival and Other Religious Events"

Dragon Boat Festival

City: The Tallest Building Taipei 101 & Kaohsiung's Love River

National Scenic Area (IV)-Dapeng Bay National Scenic Area, Penghu National Scenic Area, Matsu National Scenic Area

National Scenic Area (III)-East Rift Valley National Scenic Area, East Coast National Scenic Area, Maolin National Scenic Area

National Scenic Area (II)-Sun Moon Lake National Scenic Area, Alishan National Scenic Area, Southwest Coast National Scenic Area

National Scenic Area (I)-North Coast & Guanyinshan National Scenic Area, Northeast Coast National Scenic Area, Tri-Mountain National Scenic Area

Offshore Islands- Penghu、Kinmen National Park、Matzu、Green Island(Lyudao)、Orchid Island(Lanyu)

Eastern Taiwan- Taroko National Park、East Rift Valley、Rueisuei & Hongye、Jhihben

Southern Taiwan- Alishan、Tainan、Kaohsiung、Dapeng Bay & Little Liouciou、Kenting National Park

Central Taiwan- Miaoli、Taichung、Changhua、Nantou、Yushan National Park

Northern Taiwan -Taipei City、Yangmingshan & Beitou、Danshuei、Wulai、Jioufen & Jinguashih、Yilan、Taoyuan & Hsinchu