The sharper edge to traveling in Asia

WoWasis visits Taiwan’s National Palace Museum in Taipei

Written By: herbrunbridge - Aug• 16•11


Taipei's massive National Palace Museum

The National Palace Museum, located in Taipei, is Taiwan’s marquee museum, and should be at the top of the list for every visitor. Additionally, one block away is the Shung Ye Museum of Formosan Aborigines, well worth the visit. These two museums have combined on a special rate for a ticket to both museums. It’s not highly advertised, but all you have to do is ask at either one.

Here’s all you really need to know as to the importance of Taiwan’s National Palace Museum: started during the Song Dynasty (960 ACE), this collection of the best off China was continually expanded upon until 1948 when Chiang Kai-shek, concerned about facing defeat at the hands of Mao Zedong’s Communists, began shipping it to Taiwan for safekeeping. Chiang believed he’d be returning, so storage in Taiwan was considered temporary. By 1965, when this museum was built to showcase many of these pieces, the Taiwanese government had finally admitted that the collection was staying in Taiwan, and not returning to the mainland.

Only a fraction of the museums vast holdings can ever be exhibited at one time in this huge building. But here you’ll find spectacular Buddha images, jade carvings, sculptures, bronzes, and paper. Crowds can be a factor in your enjoyment of the museum, as people are brought in by the busload (go to Taipei’s National Museum of History if you want to view exceptional historical pieces in a more intimate setting).  It’s worth braving the crowds, though, to see these historically significant pieces all in one place.

The smaller Shung Ye Museum one block away is a must for visitors wishing to learn more about Taiwan’s indigenous groups. Here, you’ll find wonderful exhibits on the clothing, implements, weapons, utensils, songs and dances, and marriage ceremonies of these groups. The museum also has what is probably the best selection of English language books relating to different ethnicities in Taiwan, and the guidebook (in English) is well worth buying, and essentially a book in itself.

National Palace Museum
221 Jhishan Road
Tel: 02-2881-2021
Open daily
MRT stop Shilin, then take Red #30 bus

Shung YeMuseum of Formosan Aborigines
282 Jhihshan Road
Tel: (02) 2841-2611
Open Tuesday-Sunday

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