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Investigation and Restoration of Cultural Relics at the National Palace Museum

  • #Painting
  • #Ceramics
  • #Bronzes
  • #Curio
  • #Antiquities


The National Palace Museum collection includes nearly 700,000 priceless cultural artifacts. Deeply aware of the importance of preservation and conservation, the Museum has established the only independent department of conservation in Taiwan. It includes four divisions for the conservation of calligraphy and painting, rare books and historical documents, objects, and textiles, as well as a science laboratory for the preventive preservation and conservation, the research on the history of crafts, and the collection of cultural relics.

Collections in the museum may deteriorate due to natural aging or other reasons. Conservation professionals assess the condition of antiquities with the aid of scientific analysis, using a variety of modern imaging and spectroscopy technology and knowledge in physics, chemistry and material science to solve or clarify issues of preservation or conservation. They then propose conservation plans, based on the kind of object and the material it is made from. Then they deal with the object with appropriate methods and materials, prolonging its life and allowing it to be displayed and appreciated.

In this exhibition, visitors will learn about the Museum’s conservation science and conservation techniques, and glimpse this cross-disciplinary practice that encompasses the humanities, technology and conservation. The exhibition is divided into three sections. The first, “Technical Analysis of Antiquities” uses X-ray imaging and other technologies to explore the materials, internal structures and production techniques of a bronze, a lacquerware, a revolving vase, an ivory ball. The second section, “Restoration of Porcelain,” introduces the techniques used by the conservator to restore the appearance aesthetically, meticulously crafted porcelain objects, enhancing the artistry of the porcelain when placed on display. The third section, “Restoration of Calligraphy and Paintings” reveals how two silk paintings are restored and mounted, introducing visitors to the different kinds of mounting, the different conditions that lead to deterioration, and the different ideas and methods to restore works and achieve the best protection.