I felt the extreme angst of only having a morning to visit the National Palace Museum, one of the great museums of the world with its Imperial collections, the residue of all the works put into packing cases in 1933, and transported first to Shanghai, then Nanking, and eventually between December 1948 and February 1949 to Taiwan, where they were displayed in a new museum in the mid-1960s.
We started with the jades:-
I tried to remember what Craig Clunas taught in his seminar about the Cong:-
Jade Pigs were to hold as one entered into the next world:-
Then, we looked at bronzes. A cauldron from the late Shang Dynasty (c.13th. Century BCE):-
A wine vessel from the 11th. century BCE:-
The pattern on a flask from the 5th century BCE:-
A container from the Han Dynasty (25-220 AD):-
Down to painting and calligraphy, where we admired an eighteenth-century depiction of Li Bai’s ‘Preface to the Banquet at the Peach and Plum Garden on a Spring Evening’:-
I barely had a chance to study the amazing collection of ceramics. I suppose it’s always possible that one day I will come back.