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National Palace Museum hopes to show full painting in 2012

2010/03/15 20:05:20

Taipei, March 15 (CNA) An official from the National PalaceMuseum (NPM) expressed hope Monday that China will agree to send thehalf of a famous Yuan dynasty landscape painting that it owns toTaiwan, so that it can be exhibited along with the other half of thework, which belongs to the NPM.

NPM Director Chou Kung-shin said the museum "has alreadydiscussed the matter with China" and added that if all goes smoothly,the work can be shown in full at the museum in 2012.

She was responding to remarks by Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao a dayearlier that he hopes the painting "Dwelling in the Fu Chun Mountains"by Huang Kung-wang (1269-1354), can finally be exhibited in itsentirety.

At present, China's Zhejiang Provincial Museum houses the firstpart of the work, while the NPM has the second section.

Questioned in the legislature by lawmakers Huang Chih-hsiung,Yang Chiung-ying and Chao Li-yun of the ruling Kuomintang, who askedwhen the painting can be shown, Chou said the NPM is scheduled tostage a Hung Kung-wang exhibition in 2012, and hopes that it cancooperate with Zhejiang Provincial Museum to display the fullpainting at that time.

Yang asked whether, if the part of the work from Zhejiang can beshown in Taipei as scheduled, will China then be able to borrow theNPM's section for an exhibition in China.

Chou responded by noting that China would have to agree to twoconditions before the NPM's section could make the journey across theTaiwan Strait.

"They would have to complete judicial proceedings relating toexemption of seizure, and they would also have to recognize the nameof the NPM," she added.

Exception of seizure is an international agreement under whichgovernments guarantee that artworks and museum artifacts fromoverseas that are exhibited in their countries will not be seized bythe authorities.

The long handscroll, 33 cm x 639 cm, is among the 10 most famouspaintings in Chinese history. It is considered the epitome ofliterati landscape painting, and has had an enormous influence onlater eras.

The scroll depicts an idealized panorama of the Fu Chun mountainswest of Hangchow to which Huang returned in his later years followinga period of absence.

In his inscription, Huang writes that he created the originaldesign in a single outburst of energy. He subsequently worked on thepicture on and off when the mood struck him from about 1347 to 1350,when the major portions of the scroll were completed. Hisrepresentation of the Fu Chun mountains was painted for a fellowBuddhist monk named Master Wu-yung and represents Huang's greatestsurviving masterpiece.

The work was later passed on to Wu Hung-yu, a collector in thelate Ming dynasty. Wu liked the work so much that he ordered thepainting to be burned during his funeral. Fortunately, Wu's nephewsaved the work from the fire, although the painting was split in two.

(By Tsai Hsin-hua and Lilian Wu)