Houston Community News >> Taiwan Museum to Showcase Chinese Treasures in Austria

1/31/2008 (Earthtimes.org) Taipei - Taiwan's National Palace Museum, which holds the world's largest collection of Chinese artifacts, will hold an exhibition in Austria in February, the museum said Thursday. The show - Imperial Treasures: Masterpieces from the National Palace Museum, Taiwan - will be held from February 26 to May 12 at the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna, Austria, the museum said in a news release.

The exhibition will feature 116 sets or works, including 88 sets or works of antiquities, 23 paintings and five rare books, with the oldest piece being a jade bird carving from the Neolithic Age some 5,500 years ago.

The exhibition will also feature the famous scroll painting Along the River during the Chingming Festival.

The 11.5 x 4 meter painting records life and customs in the ancient capital of Kaifeng during the Northern Sung Dynasty (960- 126).

The exhibition comes after two years' negotiations to convince Vienna to promise to return the treasures to Taipei, instead of Beijing - which claims sovereignty over Taiwan.

The Chinese Nationalist Government took the most important artifacts from the Palace Museum in Beijing and a museum in Nanjing - a total of 650,000 pieces - and brought them to Taipei, when it lost the Chinese Civil War in 1949.

China considers the artworks the heritage of China, fearing that China might seize the artifacts through its diplomatic ties with foreign countries.

Currently 171 countries recognize China and only 23 nations have diplomatic ties with Taiwan.

Because of the fears, Taiwan has allowed the National Palace Museum to send its treasures for exhibit overseas only a few times.

(Contributed by Earthtimes.org)