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September 23, 2009

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Imperial art in Taiwan reunion

COLLECTIONS of artifacts from Chinese emperors are set for a reunion across the Taiwan Strait after being separated during the civil war six decades ago.

Deputy Director of the Palace Museum in Beijing Li Ji sealed 37 items from the royal collections in boxes, accompanied by Feng Ming-Chu, deputy director of the "National Palace Museum" of Taiwan, during a news conference held in Beijing yesterday.

The collections will be sent to Taiwan for an exhibition featuring Emperor Yongzheng of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), to be held by Taipei's "National Palace Museum" from October 7 to January 10.

The artifacts will be displayed with 209 items from royal collections owned by the Taiwan museum.

This will be the first reunion of royal collections across the Taiwan Strait since the then-Kuomintang government shipped 2,971 boxes of about 600,000 items from the former Imperial Palace, or the Forbidden City, in 1949 at the end of the civil war.

The royal collections that will travel to Taiwan include portraits of Emperor Yongzheng and his mistresses.

"They were outstanding artworks among our collections in the reign of Emperor Yongzheng," Li said. "We sent the best we have."

The joint exhibition is the result of hard work from both sides, Feng said.

"The cooperation and exchanges between the two museums progressed very quickly. What we did in the past six months was what we should have done in the past six decades," she said.

The first cooperation between the two museums was in 1992 when they collaborated with a Hong Kong-based publisher on the book "The Best of National Treasures" about their collections.

A delegation from the "National Palace Museum" headed by Director Chou Kung-shin made a first visit to Beijing in February, and the museum's mainland counterparts returned the visit in March.

Both sides agreed to speed up cooperation. They reached agreements to hold exchange visits between July and mid-September every year and exchange personnel for research projects.


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