TAICHUNG, TAIWAN (FORMOSA)...By special arrangement some of Free China's most valuable art treasures are unveiled?
TAICHUNG, TAIWAN (FORMOSA)...By special arrangement some of Free China's most valuable art treasures are unveiled before the newsreel camera. Two of the precious objects, exquisite carvings of jade, are photographed for the first time in history.
These Chinese art treasures stored on Taiwan are priceless beyond anyone's capacity to set a value on them. They represent the cream of the collections of the Chinese emperors for more than a thousand years, in essence the best of the object stored in the Palace Museum of Peiping and the Central Museum of Nanking.
Ever since the Japanese invaded Manchuria in 1931, the treasures have been restlessly on the move, from Peiping to Shanghai to Nanking--then westward into the rugged interior of China, keeping always ahead of the onrushing Japanese armies. The bombs and blasts of war left the treasures unscarred, and ironically enough, even those left behind before the Japanese armies were not harmed--they were returned to China after the Japanese surrendered.
When the Communists renewed China's endless struggles, the treasures were moved once again, this time to Taiwan. There are more than 64,000 individual objects of porcelain, bronze, cloisonne, jade, lacquer, ritual bones and shells, gold plate, bric-a-brac, and miscellaneous items--in addition to 280,000 rare books and 28,000 official documents, and nearly 6500 paintings and calligraphic scrolls.
Carefully packed in wooden crates, now being gradually replaced with aluminum, stored in high warehouses or in the very bowels of a man-made, air conditioned cave in the adjoining hillside, the treasures can be viewed in a special gallery, no more than 500 at a time. With monthly changes in display, this means that more than 240 years would be required to show all of the much-travelled objects of art.
Because the threat of war hangs over the free Orient today as almost always in modern history, the veteran treasures are still only minutes away by jet flight from the Communist air bases on mainland China, 100 miles across the Straits of Taiwan. There has been much talk of a possible exhibition of some of the treasures in the United States, an attraction that most American art experts agree would be a sensation even among the masses of Americans, not merely experts, connoisseurs, and art fans in general. So far, however, the project is only in the talking stage.
Today, under the loving care of the staff that has followed them thousands of miles through beleaguered China, the treasures remain on Taiwan, a legacy-beyond-price of the greatness of Chinese civilization before the dark night of Communism descended upon the world's most populous nation.