The Control Yuan’s plan to donate four pieces of calligraphy in cursive script by former Control Yuan president Yu You-ren (于右任) to the National Palace Museum has met with opposition, with Control Yuan member Lee Ful-dien (李復甸) questioning whether such a donation was appropriate.
The calligraphic works are currently on display in one of the Control Yuan’s meeting rooms, the content being a poem titled Huangzhou (黃州) by ancient Chinese poet Lu You (陸游), Lee said.
He said that the poem recounts the story of Su Dongpo (蘇東坡) — a Chinese writer, poet, artist, and government official — who was exiled after being accused of a crime he did not commit in front of the emperor, Lee said.
Yu probably placed his own -calligraphy of the poem in the Control Yuan as a warning to its members not to make the same mistake, he added.
Given that Yu is often considered the “father” of the Control Yuan, Lee said it was wrong to donate his calligraphy to the museum.
Since the National Palace Museum has a large collection of invaluable works, Yu’s calligraphy could be locked in storage for a long time before it sees the light of day again, Lee said.
“If different government institutions are able to donate works back and forth, shouldn’t the National Palace Museum donate some precious antique to the Control Yuan for display?” he asked.
Lee said that Yu put a lot of effort into promoting standardized cursive script, and never turned down a request for his calligraphy. As a result, his work can be seen in many places, including the restaurant Ding Tai Fung (鼎泰豐).
As such, Yu would oppose his work being placed in storage at the National Palace Museum if he were still alive, Lee said.
Lee criticized the Control Yuan’s administrative staff for failing to consult Control Yuan members before making the donation, saying that such a decision highlighted a lack of respect.
Asked to comment on the issue, Control Yuan member Louis Chao (趙榮耀) said he had often seen the four pieces of calligraphy, but never really grasped their meaning.
However, having since learned that the works may have been meant as a warning to Control Yuan members, “they should not be donated,” he said.