Taiwan to loan art to China amid warming ties

Posted July 25th, 2013

China, Museums, News, Politics, Taiwan

 National Taiwan Museum
Taiwan plans to loan for the first time a treasured painting to China in yet another sign of warming ties between the two former bitter rivals, officials said Thursday.

Previously, Chinese requests to borrow nationally important cultural relics have been rejected as Taiwan feared the works might be confiscated.

But the National Taiwan Museum said it plans to loan a 17-century portrait and other art treasures to the Hubei Provincial Museum in central China and another museum in Fujian province for exhibitions next year.

“We support the government’s existing policy to promote cultural exchanges with the mainland,” Li Tzu-ning, an official at the National Taiwan Museum, told AFP.

The portrait is of Koxinga, a general in China’s late Ming Dynasty (1368-1644).

In return, the museum in Hubei will loan more than 100 cultural relics to the National Taiwan Museum, in Taipei, for an exhibition slated for November, Li said.

But the National Palace Museum, which is also in Taipei and is Taiwan’s top museum, has maintained it is unlikely to loan its items to the mainland in the absence of guarantees they would not not be retained.

It holds more than 655,000 artefacts spanning 7,000 years from the Neolithic period to the end of the Qing dynasty in 1911.

They were removed from a Beijing museum in the 1930s to prevent them falling into the hands of invading Japanese troops and were then taken to Taiwan by the Nationalists as they fled communist forces on the mainland.

“We have no such concerns as the painting we plan to loan to the mainland is not from there,” Li said.

Beijing still considers Taiwan part of its territory awaiting reunification, by force if necessary.

But ties between Taipei and Beijing have improved markedly since Ma Ying-jeou of the China-friendly Kuomintang came to power in 2008 on a platform of boosting trade links and allowing in more Chinese tourists.

Copyright © 2013 AFP.