Damaged antique painting piece starts tour for reunion in Taiwan

08:56, May 12, 2011      

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Staff of the Zhejiang Provincial Museum introduce "The Leftover Mountain Painting", the smaller half of a 660-year-old landscape painting "Dwelling in the Fuchun Mountains" by famed Chinese painter Huang Gongwang, with its replica during a delivery ceremony held in Hangzhou, east China's Zhejiang Province, May 11, 2011. (Xinhua/Han Chuanhao)

Half of a damaged antique painting on Wednesday started its trip of reunion for Taiwan from east China's Zhejiang Province in a demonstration of improved cross-Strait ties.

A delivery ceremony was held at the Zhejiang Provincial Museum Wednesday afternoon before "The Leftover Mountain Painting" was packed in a case and shipped to Beijing for the first leg of its journey.

It will next be shipped from Beijing to the Taipei Palace Museum on May 18. The two halves will be rejoined and displayed at an exhibition co-hosted by the Taipei Palace Museum and the Zhejiang Provincial Museum from June 1 to Sept. 25.

"The Leftover Mountain Painting" was the smaller half of the 660-year-old landscape painting "Dwelling in the Fuchun Mountains" by famed Chinese painter Huang Gongwang, which was accidentally split into two some 300 years ago.

The smaller half has been stored in the Zhejiang Provincial Museum in the city of Hangzhou, while the larger half has been stored in the Taipei Palace Museum since 1949, when a civil war between the Communist and the Kuomintang ended.

The Zhejiang museum has been making great efforts in preserving their section of the painting, said Chen Hao, curator of the museum.

"The paper of the painting has been worn thin and became delicate throughout the ages, so the treasure can be easily damaged during exhibitions," said Chen. "We have specific requirements for the temperature, humidity and lighting of the exhibition ark."

Additionally, Zhejiang Provincial Museum has worked out an insurance estimate worth 150 million yuan (about 23.1 U. S. Dollars) for "The Leftover Mountain Painting," Chen said.

Dwelling in Fuchun Mountain, 33 cm wide and 636.9 cm long, was accomplished by Huang Gongwang from 1347 to 1350, working in his later years. With Fuchun River as the setting, the painting depicts an idealized panorama of the Fuchun Mountains, west of Hangzhou City.

During the late Ming Dynasty (1638-1644), the scroll was transferred to a collector named Wu Hongyu, who attempted to burn it as a sacrificial item on his death bed. Fortunately, his niece saved if from being destroyed, but the fire broke the painting into two pieces.

Early in the 1990s, authorities in Zhejiang Province had proposed the joining of the two halves of the painting, but the plan was not carried out due to a lack of a positive response from the Taipei museum, Chen Hao said.

At a press conference after the annual session of the national legislature in March 2010, Premier Wen Jiabao told the story about the painting. Wen said that he hoped one day the two pieces of the painting would be again brought together, and he also expressed the same wish for the people on both sides of the Taiwan Strait.

Later, on Jan. 16, under the joint effort of authorities in Taiwan and Zhejiang Province a memorandum of understanding concerning the reuniting of the sections of the painting was signed between the two museums.

Chen Hao said, "The cross-Strait cultural communication should go both ways, and I am looking forward to an exhibition of the reunited painting on the Chinese mainland."

Source: Xinhua


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