For the first time, Taipei sends its masterpieces to Tokyo
by Xin Yage
Taiwan's National Palace Museum, home to almost 700,000 pieces of Chinese artwork, signed an agreement with museums in Tokyo and Kyushu in Japan to exhibit part of its collection.

Taipei (AsiaNews) - For the first time in its history, Taiwan has reached an agreement to exhibit its artifacts and artworks in another Asian country. Yesterday, officials from the National Palace Museum (NPM) in Taipei (国立 故宫 博物) and two Japanese national museums - the Tokyo National Museum (东京 国立 博物馆) and the Kyushu National Museum (九州 国立 博物馆) -signed an agreement to loan part of their respective collections.

In order to give its artifacts and artwork on loan, the NPM wanted guarantees from the Japan government, not only from the museums, that its masterpieces would be sent back after the exhibit in Taipei.

For this reason, Taiwan does not send its works of art to states that do not have specific laws on the matter.

Yesterday's agreement was made possible by the fact that in 2011 Japan adopted an anti-seizure law with regards to works of art (司法 免 扣押).

"Starting in 1991, we sent various works of art to countries that offered legal guarantees," said NPM Director Dr Feng (冯 明珠) during the press conference announcing the agreement. "We are happy that Japan can now open the way to other Asian countries."

Similar agreements have been signed in the past with the United States, France, Germany and Austria.

"Unfortunately, Italy is a unique case in Europe," NPM Secretary Dr Lu (陸仲雁) told AsiaNews.

"A law against seizing artwork was passed by the [Italian] Senate in 2011 but failed to make it through the lower house because of the government's fall and the dissolution of parliament in 2012."

Among the museums that preserve the masterpieces of Chinese art, the one in Taipei has the same origin as the Palace Museum in Beijing's Forbidden City (北京 故宫).

Taiwan's NPM holds in fact more than 696,000 artefacts brought from Beijing to Taiwan after the civil war in mainland China.