Sat, Jun 11, 2005 - Page 2 News List

Exhibition of cultural relics from China opens today

AP , TAIPEI

China has sent Taiwan a collection of ancient cultural relics as part of Beijing's effort to broaden its appeal to the Taiwanese people.

The artifacts will be displayed at an exhibition set to open today at Taipei's National Museum of History.

The Chinese exhibition -- built around a traditional Chinese love story involving a white serpent transformed into a woman -- will be the first outside the relics from the Leifeng Tower (雷峰塔), a 1,000-year-old wood and brick structure in Hangzhou City, Zhejiang Province.

Legend says the tower was the site of the first encounter between the "Lady White Serpent" and her human lover.

Luo Bojian, director of the Beijing group organizing the exhibit, said the event was aimed at underscoring cultural links between Taiwan and China.

"The White Serpent is not only a well-known legend on the mainland but in Taiwan as well -- an indication of our shared cultural roots," Luo said.

For the exhibit, a huge portrait of the Lady White Serpent and her lover, both in flowing white gowns, adorned the museum's entrance.

Artifacts on display include Buddha statues and bricks inlaid with Buddhist scriptures, which originally formed part of the Leifeng Tower.

Archeologists unearthed the items during a 2001 excavation.

The exhibition's opening coincides with Dragon Boat Day, when legend says the serpent woman revealed her snake form after being offered a special cup of wine.

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