joy magnetism: Talk about Cash in the Attic

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Thursday, July 24, 2008

Talk about Cash in the Attic

Magnet #153 - National Palace Museum, Taipei, Taiwan

I dated a guy from Taipei once. He had this extra lobe in his ear, which he insisted made him royalty. And, he pretty much conducted himself as such as well. So you can see how, after it was over, I've sort of been put off ever visiting Taiwan.

However, a friend of mine living and working there now sent me this superawesome magnet from the National Palace Museum, and may have single-handedly changed my mind about visiting eventually.

According to the NYTs, this museum ranks among the top in the world, just after the likes of the Louvre, the Met and the Prado. And, it has quite a storied past, when one of the emperors from the Sung Dynasty (960-1279) decided that he wanted to hoard all of China's art treasures and sent out tons of servants to scour the countryside and bring back, well, everything of value. Dudes. 9freakin'60. That's like...old. Heh.

But, like most museums, its turbulent history has been tied closely to all the political regimes since, right on through to World War II, when some 7,000 crates were secretly shipped around the country to hide them from enemy hands. It's quite an amazing story.

Get this, though! After years of renovations in the early 2000s, the museum as it stands now holds 700,000 Chinese artifacts. But! They can only display like 15,000 pieces at any given time, and they keep the rest stored in special vaults deep within the mountainside!

To keep the collection fresh, they rotate the displays a few times a year. But, if you do the math - it would take you about a dozen years to see everything in their collection. Dannnnng.

Yeah, you'd have to get a membership for that.
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