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December 2, 2009

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Rare cultural treasures go on display in Taiwan

THE Chinese National Academy of Arts is hosting the biggest show of treasures to reach Taiwan in 60 years, offering a plethora of works including wedding sedans and music.

Some of the 230 rare items displayed at the free-entry show in Taipei are listed as national treasures. A few are marked by the United Nations for preservation. Some date back 2,000 years.

Other items, such as a giant loom, still work so well that the academy brought 22 crafts people to give live demonstrations.

"The two sides across the Taiwan Strait come from the same roots," said Tian Qing, an academy professor managing the exhibit, suggesting that Taiwan's youth study the treasures, then act to save them.

"One aspect is to tell people we have this beauty from the past and another is to let them know it needs protection," Tian said. "On the path to modernization, don't let it get lost."

Chinese mainland lost some of its best pieces in the "cultural revolution" (1966-1976) when signs of wealth and status were wiped out, he said. Taiwan, for its part, should be mindful of the cultural influences from outside the region, such as that from the United States, Tian said.

The exhibit has drawn about 600 people daily, according to the show's Taiwan sponsor.


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