Fri, Oct 28, 2005 - Page 14 News List

Hwa Kang Museum opens its treasure trove of art


PHOTO: Courtesy of the Hwa Kang Museum

The Hwa Kang Museum is up Yangmingshan, Taipei, in a corner of the Chinese Culture University campus. Established in 1971 by the university's founder Zhang Qi-yun (張其昀), this university museum is the first of its kind in Taiwan and functions as an educational institute by channeling all its efforts on holding fine arts exhibitions.

This four-floor building has approximately 549m2 of

exhibition space.

The first floor gallery is open for exhibitions to both campus artists and members of the public. The third floor is set to display pieces from the museum's

permanent collections of folk arts and Chinese ceramics. The fourth floor exhibition area is designated for large-scale, semester-long thematic presentations of fine arts. The museum's permanent

collection of modern and

contemporary Chinese paintings and calligraphy contains more than 4,000 masterpieces by Chinese artists. Big-name artists include Wang Yang-ming (王陽明), Wu Chang-shuo (吳昌碩), Yu You-ren (于右任), Pu Xin-yu (溥心畬), Zhang Da-qian (張大千), Huang Jun-bi (黃君璧), Zhao Shao-ang (趙少昂), Ou Hao-nian (歐豪年), Li Mei-shu (李梅樹) and Liu Qi-wei (劉其偉).

In its Chinese ceramics

collection, porcelain and pottery objects are covered through the ages, from the Neolithic Yang-shao culture to the Ming and Qing dynasties.

The folk art and woodblock print collections range from aged furniture, to embroidery, woodblock prints, temple and

monastery art and Aboriginal

cultural artifacts. All these remarkable collections require at least a half-day trip for serious art lovers.

Currently on the fourth floor, curator Margaret Chen (陳明湘) is putting together a rather unusual exhibition titled Flowers-and-Birds, Ink Paintings of Zhang Shu-qi and Wu Xue-rang (張書旂.吳學讓水墨花鳥畫展), for the first time in Taiwan.

Exhibition notes

When: Flowers-and-Birds Ink Paintings of Zhang Shu-qiand Wu Xue-rang (張書旂,吳學讓水墨花鳥畫展).

Where: Hwa Kang Museum at the Chinese Culture University (中國文化大學華岡博物館).

Address: 55, Hwa Kang Road, Yangmingshan, Taipei (臺北市陽明山華岡路55號).

When: Now to Jan. 16, 2006

Opening Hours: 9am ti 4pm,

Monday thru Friday.

Admission: Free

Phones: (02) 2861 0511 X 410 or 411.

Transportation: Buses 260, 303 and Red 5.

The late Zhang Shu-qi never set foot in Taiwan in his lifetime and is thus unknown to the general public. Yet, his outstanding skill at drawing pigeons has been lauded by the late Xu Bei-hong (徐悲鴻).

Born in 1900, Zhang painted the 3m x 3m Hundred Doves in 1941, when China was being attacked by the Japanese. Applying olive trees and azalea flowers as a background, the painting vividly depicts 100 or more doves, each with different expressions. The painting suggests the artist's desire for peace at a time when the clouds of war were gathering.

The painting was subsequently presented to former US president Franklin D. Roosevelt as a gift in commemoration of his third

presidential inauguration. It was displayed in the White House and later became part of the permanent collection of the former president's library.

Zhang was a talented landscape and birds-and-flower painter. One daring approach that Zhang adopted was to use colored Chinese painting papers, instead of normal white ones, for many of his works done in the US.

"He developed a preference for using powdered lead white and red pigment on colored paper. His colors thus became extremely eye-catching," Margaret Chen said. Fang Yi-min

(方亦民), widow of Zhang Shu-qi, donated 40 of her late husband's works to the university in 1969, after Zhang passed away in 1957.

Zhang Shu-qi expresses his desire for peace through painting doves.

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