Fri, Jan 21, 2005 - Page 4 News List

Southern branch of Palace Museum emphasizes Asia

STAFF WRITER

While the nation's culture is immensely influenced by Europe and the US, the branch of the National Palace Museum in Chiayi will focus on Asian cultures, the museum's director said yesterday.

"I'd prefer to see it as a decision with foresight rather than a challenging mission," said the museum's director, Shih Shou-chien (石守謙). "I'd like to see more cultural exchanges and interaction with Asian countries, and to accent the unique Asian spirit and civilization."

The museum's collection and displays not only emphasize the importance of Asian cultures, but also broadens the horizon of Asian cultures, he said.

"With extended professional experience in art education, we feel obligated to educate the public about the splendor of Asian cultures," he said. "Ideally, we will enrich people's minds with Asia's rich history and cultural artifacts."

Under the museum's plan, the southern branch will be developed by combining local artifacts with exhibits from other Asian countries.

With some 650,000 items in the museum collection, many of them can't be exhibited at the same time due to the lack of adequate display space. Collections from such Asian countries as Japan and South Korea will be included.

The land for the project is owned by the state-owned Taiwan Sugar Corporation and covers 57 hectares.

The branch has one lobby with guided tours available, five long-term display halls, a special exhibition hall, a media center and a child creativity center.

The main themes of the five long-term display halls are about Asia's religion, textile, pottery, fine arts and literature.

Displays are currently running on tea culture, jade, Taiwan's religions and ancient military weapons.

Of the 3,000 items on display, 60 percent are in the museum's collection, while the remaining 40 percent are on loan from other countries.

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