Thu, May 16, 2019 - Page 2 News List

Over 1,700 Eastern Chou relics on exhibit

By Lin Chia-nan  /  Staff reporter

Bronze relics from the Eastern Chou Dynasty are displayed in a special exhibition at the Museum of the Institute of History and Philology at Academia Sinica in Taipei’s Nangang District yesterday.

Photo: Wu Liang-yi, Taipei Times

An exhibition of more than 1,700 relics unearthed from China’s Henan Province opened yesterday at Academia Sinica in Taipei, shedding new light on the culture of the Eastern Chou Dynasty nearly 2,500 years ago.

The exhibition, titled “A Window to Eastern Chou: Eastern Chou Relics Excavated from Honan” (東周實相─河南出土東周文物展), is curated by Hwang Ming-chorng (黃銘崇), director of the Museum of the Institute of History and Philology at Academia Sinica.

Sixteen of the relics are on loan from the Taipei-based National Museum of History, which has been undergoing renovation since last year, Academia Sinica said.

The relics were transported from China when Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石) and the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) retreated to Taiwan after losing the Chinese Civil War, and have been displayed in different places, it said.

The exhibition features six national treasures, including the Animal-shaped Stand (獸形器座), featuring a human-like beast stepping on two coiled serpents.

The stand is likely one of a kind in the world, as artifacts with human features from the Eastern Chou are rare, retired institute researcher Yang Shih-chao (楊式昭) said, adding that little is known about its background.

Ancient Chinese often used bronze to make weapons or utensils for religious rituals and decorated them with images of mythical animals, illustrating the Chinese belief in the supernatural, Yang said.

In comparison, ancient Westerners often used bronze to produce human statues and tokens with anthropomorphic features, she said.

While bronze utensils were mainly used by emperors, the Eastern Chou produced a wide variety of bronze ware because of political turmoil, with the smaller kingdoms producing their own lines, she said.

Her favorite among the relics is the Square Hu Pot with Coiled Dragon Pattern (蟠龍方壺), with its exquisite craftsmanship, Yang said, adding that she has produced a monograph to expand on its stories.

Visitors can explore the history of the dynasty by visiting the exhibition and appreciating the artifacts, institute deputy director Chen Jeng-guo (陳正國) said, adding that some might be familiar with it through Chen Uen’s (鄭問) comic works or games set in the era.

The museum at Academic Sinica is one of the pearls in Taipei, said Sergey Petrov, the Moscow-Taipei Coordination Commission on Economic and Cultural Cooperation Office Representative in Taipei.

He is fond of exploring history, despite his almost “zero” knowledge about the Eastern Chou Dynasty, he added.

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