Old Collection & New Additions
The collection of the National Palace Museum mainly deals with art and artifacts of Chinese heritage. Many of the works in the collection are masterpieces, leading the Museum to become widely known as a treasure trove of Chinese culture.
After their arrival in Taiwan, the collections of the Palace Museum and Preparatory Office of the National Central Museum were temporarily stored at Peikou (in Wufeng, Taichung). In 1965, the two museums joined in Waishuangxi, Taipei, to form the museum now known as the National Palace Museum. The holdings from the Palace Museum included 46,100 antiquities, 5,526 paintings and calligraphies, and 545,797 rare books and documents. The collection from the National Central Museum included 11,047 antiquities, 477 painting and calligraphies, and 38 rare books and documents. In sum, the combined collection consisted of 608,985 cultural relics.
The current collection of the National Palace Museum features not only the objects brought to Taiwan from the two institutions mentioned above, but also acquisitions made after the Museum’s official inauguration in Taiwan. These new additions include transfers from other institutions, donations made to the Museum, and purchases made by the Museum, of which the latter two are the most significant.
The Palace Museum in Beijing and the Preparatory Office of the National Central Museum had begun expanding their collections long before their collections were moved to Taiwan. In 1934, the Palace Museum purchased a weight and measure (excavated in Chengouyi in Dingxi County, Gansu) dating from the Wang Mang Interregnum. After the defeat of Japan, the Museum accepted the donations of ceramics from the family of Mr. Guo Baochang and Shang and Zhou bronzes from the German connoisseur, Mr. Werner Jannings. The Preparatory Office of the National Central Museum had also purchased treasured bronzes in the collections of the Liu family's (Shanzhai), as well as Yü family's house of swords, , and bronzes from the Rong family.
Since its opening in Taipei, the National Palace Museum has never ceased in expanding the scope of its collection. A set of guidelines was drawn in 1969 to facilitate making acquisitions with budgetary funds and to encourage private donations and entrustments.
Among these treasures in their own right, some more notable examples include the sandalwood furniture from the residence of the Qing Dynasty Prince Gong, calligraphic works by Chen Bo of the Northern Song Dynasty, scroll "Cold Food Observance" by Su Shi of the Northern Song Dynasty, "Spring Thunder" zither of the Tang Dynasty, the Tzu-fan set of bells from the Spring and Autumn Period, gilt bronze Buddhist sculptures from the Northern Wei and later, jade tablets used by Tang Emperor Xuanzong in homage to the God of Earth, "A Calligraphic Rendition of the Hsi-tz'u Chapter of the I-ching" by Zhu Xi of the Southern Song Dynasty, and the painting "Mount Lu" by Chang Dai-chien. The Museum has also acquired a large number of prehistoric jades, Shang and Zhou bronzes, ceramics, as well as famous paintings and calligraphic pieces from the reign of the Jiaqing Emperor (of the Qing Dynasty) to the modern era. These acquisitions have all served to fill the gaps in the original collection.