Two parts of masterpiece to reunite in Taiwan show

09:22, May 19, 2011      

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Half of a damaged antique painting will soon start on a trip to Taiwan to be reunited with its other half, fulfilling a wish long held by Premier Wen Jiabao.

After being separated for as much as 359 years, the two halves of Dwelling in Fuchun Mountain will be rejoined and displayed at an exhibition at the Taipei Palace Museum from June 1 to Sept 5.

Of the 83 works of art that will be displayed at the museum, 12 came from six museums on the mainland.

"All the masterpieces have been carefully selected and either have a close artistic connection with Dwelling in Fuchun Mountain or with the painter of it," said Wang Jun, director of the Art Exhibitions China, the coordinator and co-organizer of the exhibition.

The highlight of the exhibition, the 33-centimeter-wide and 636.9-centimeter-long painting has long been deemed a masterpiece. It is the creation of the renowned Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368) painter Huang Gongwang (1269-1354) and depicts an idealized panorama of the Fuchun Mountains west of Hangzhou. It is commonly ranked among the 10 best ancient Chinese paintings.

The painting was rent in twain during the late Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), when a collector named Wu Hongyu tried to have it burnt shortly before he died in 1650.

The two halves began to be kept in separate places two years later.

The smaller half of the 661-year-old landscape painting, often called The Leftover Mountain Painting, has been stored in the Zhejiang Provincial Museum in Hangzhou since 1956. The larger half meanwhile has been kept in the Taipei Palace Museum since 1948, when the Communist Party of China was nearing victory in the civil war against the Kuomintang, the party that then ruled China.

Premier Wen Jiabao, speaking in March 2010 at a news conference after the annual session of the National People's Congress, expressed his hope that the two pieces of the painting would be reunited. He also expressed a wish for rapprochement between the people living on both sides of the Straits.

With Taiwan and the mainland working together, the Taipei Palace Museum and the Zhejiang Provincial Museum signed a memorandum of understanding in January this year.

To ensure the painting's safety, the exact date the painting is to be delivered to Taiwan is being kept secret, said Zhang Yake of Art Exhibitions China's operation department.

To attract more young art lovers, the Taipei Palace Museum has prepared a new media exhibit, which includes a 3D video that will be shown alongside the painting, said Fung Ming-chu, deputy director of the Taipei Palace Museum.

"Such a wonderful exhibition would not have become a reality without cooperation between Taiwan and the mainland," Fung said. "We hope art lovers from both sides of the Straits will benefit from the exhibition."

Source:China Daily
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