Crowds have been lining up at the National Palace Museum’s gift shop since Friday last week, when the museum launched a set of paper adhesive tapes depicting the handwriting of Emperor Kangxi (康熙).
The tapes are inscribed with the signature note that the Qing Dynasty emperor often wrote on zouzhe (奏摺) — reports submitted by officials to the emperor — which read: zhen zhi dao le (朕知道了), meaning, “I got it.”
According to reports by China’s state-run China News Service (CNS), the tape sets were inspired by an exhibition titled “Thou Art Understood! Ching Court Communication as Reflected in the Palace Memorials” held from September 2004 to May 2005 at the museum.
Museum Director Feng Ming-chu (馮明珠), then a researcher at the museum and chief editor of the exhibition’s brochure, chose Kangxi’s writing of the phrase zhen zhi dao le as cover for the brochure, the reports said.
Images of the paper tapes have gone viral on the Internet, including on the Chinese microblogging site Sina Weibo, since the museum posted them on its Facebook page.
Scores of netizens from Taiwan and China have listed the product as a “must buy” souvenir from the museum, with some saying that it encapsulates the “lordliness of an emperor.”
The reports said the tape sets sold out quickly on the day of its launch and that long lines of people gathered at the museum’s gift shop the next morning even before it began selling the second batch at 11am.
More than 1,000 sets were sold in just two days, the museum said.
A Taiwanese man said his son, who lives in Guangzhou, China, called him on Friday just to ask him to buy a set of the tape.
A Chinese woman from Beijing, surnamed Liang (梁), said the tape was an interesting product and she would definitely buy a few rolls for her friends, a CNS report said.
The tapes are sold as a set of three rolls in three colors — yellow, red and white — for NT$200 per set, museum souvenir department manager Wu Kuei-fang (吳桂芳) said
“The museum issued its first special-themed paper tape last month and has since introduced five versions, including Emperor Qianlong’s treasure seals (乾隆御覽之寶) and other seals of the Qing Dynasty emperor,” Wu said.
The products are sold at the museum’s gift shop and its online stores, Wu said.
The museum plans to release a total of 20 paper tape sets, including one that depicts the One Hundred Horses (百駿圖) painting by Giuseppe Castiglione, an 18th-century Italian Jesuit missionary who served three Qing emperors as a court painter.
Taiwanese netizens have also come up with other creative ideas for more sets, with some suggesting well-known lines from the Chinese television drama Empresses in the Palace (後宮甄嬛傳), such as jian ren jiu shi jiao qing (賤人就是矯情, meaning “the bitch is being bitchy”), ben gong fa le (本宮乏了, meaning “I, the master of the palace, am tired”) and gui an ba (跪安吧, meaning “you can go now,” after doing a kowtow).
Empresses in the Palace is a Qing Dynasty-themed series about the intense competition among concubines to win the emperor’s favor.
However, the museum said its souvenirs should feature works of art on display at the museum instead of popular TV series.