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Parts of torn ancient Chinese painting brought together in exhibition

06-01-2011 15:29 BJT

TAIPEI, June 1 (Xinhua) -- Visitors to Taipei's Palace Museum from June to September can view a Chinese painting in its entirety for the first time since it was burnt into two pieces 360 years ago.

Photo taken on June 1, 2011, shows an electronic version of combined legendary Chinese
ancient painting "Dwelling in the Fuchun Mountains" in the Palace Museum in Taipei,
southeast China's Taiwan, June 1, 2011. (Xinhua/Han Chuanhao)

"Dwelling in the Fuchun Mountains" by famous Yuan Dynasty painter Huang Gongwang, was burnt into two in a fire in 1650. After changing hands many times, the right part, 51.4-cm long, is kept in the mainland's Zhejiang Museum, while the left part, 636.9-cm long, is held in Taipei's Palace Museum.

An exhibition, displaying both parts of the scroll painting, opened in the Taipei Palace Museum on Wednesday and will last till Sept. 25.

The scroll painting vividly depicts an early autumn scene on the banks of the Fuchun River in Hangzhou. It is regarded as one of the greatest achievements of the traditional Chinese landscape painting technique.

"As a painter of traditional Chinese ink painting, I have never seen this masterpiece before. It is like a dream that finally comes true," said He Shuifa, a renowned painter from the mainland, at the exhibition's opening ceremony.

Guests attend the opening ceremony of a special exhibition of the legendary Chinese ancient
painting "Dwelling in the Fuchun Mountains" in the Palace Museum in Taipei, southeast
China's Taiwan, June 1, 2011. (Xinhua/Han Chuanhao)

The artist completed the painting when he was 82-years old, and could be considered an abstract representation of his whole life, He said.

"Only a dozen of Huang's paintings have survived till today."

Huang's work marks the start of a new Chinese painting school, Literati Painting, which dominated the Chinese art scene for centuries.

Painters of the school were also poets, intellectuals and calligraphers, not just professional painters. They turned painting into a comprehensive means of self-expression by writing poems and short essays on the sides of their works.

"However, my dream has not been fully fulfilled. I would like to see the two parts of the painting brought together at Fuyang of Zhejiang Province where it was painted," He said.

"Without the improving relations across the Strait, we would not have the chance to see the reunion," said Prof. Li Daoxiang, with the Academy of Chinese Culture, at the opening ceremony.

The Chinese mainland and Taiwan have been estranged after a civil war in the late 1940s. In the 1980s the two sides resumed exchanges of people and eased restrictions of transport, post and trade. In 2008, they finally rebuilt direct links of transport, post and trade.

In 2009, the Palace Museum in Taipei first jointly hosted an exhibition with the Palace Museum in Beijing.

"The two museums have made great efforts to settle disagreements and sensitive issues, which laid the foundation for future cross-Strait cooperation," Li said.

"As the economic links between the two sides have become closer, people from the two sides should work together to recall and rebuilt the collective memory of Chinese culture," Li said.

The two parts of the ancient painting are put together in a 16-meter-long glass cabinet under a stable temperature of 20 to 24 degrees Celsius and 58 to 63 percent relative humidity.

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