What constitutes a "national treasure" is something that depends on the individual. The collection of the National Palace Museum, for example, includes many objects often called national treasures. However, according to the definition set forth in the Cultural Heritage Preservation Act, a national treasure in Taiwan is an artifact that has been officially determined and declared to be so by the Republic of China's Ministry of Culture. As of June 2021, 252 works of painting and calligraphy in the National Palace Museum have been judged as meeting the standards of a national treasure. Both in terms of quality and quantity, they stand out among museum collections in the country.
Fan Kuan's "Travelers Among Mountains and Streams," Guo Xi's "Early Spring," and Li Tang's "Whispering Pines in Myriad Valleys" are universally recognized as three unparalleled masterpieces of Northern Song landscape painting. Regardless of which perspective or standard for judgment is used,they are the "National Treasures" among the national treasures in the Museum collection. When any one of them appears in an exhibition, it is a major event in the art world that attracts lovers of Chinese art to come and see it with their own eyes. But to have all three of them on display together is an extremely rare and precious occasion. In recent years, only for two special displays in 2007's "Grand View: Special Exhibition of Northern Sung Painting and Calligraphy" and 2011's "Splendid Masterpieces: A Hundred Masterpieces of the National Palace Museum on Parade" were they all on exhibit.
Now, ten years after the "Splendid Masterpieces" exhibition, the National Palace Museum
is presenting in October of this year (2021) a special exhibition of "A Trio of National Treasures: Fan Kuan, Guo Xi, and Li Tang at the National Palace Museum." What makes this exhibit of these three National Treasures different from the previous two is that it is hoped audiences can focus on appreciating the paradigm of the "Northern Song monumental landscape" manifested by them. The specially designed displays and high-resolution images this time help to fully recreate a "monumental" impression of these three famous national treasures. In addition, another gallery has been arranged to exhibit nine post-Song works related to the styles of Fan Kuan, Guo Xi, and Li Tang to discretely yet concretely demonstrate the influence of these Song masters on later generations.
To help audiences understand the exhibition of "A Trio of National Treasures" from diverse perspectives, this guidebook of the same title has been especially prepared. Through the effort and cooperation of academia and the Museum's curatorial team, not only is there further research herein to analyze the three masters Fan Kuan, Guo Xi, and Li Tang, the descriptions are straightforward and easy to understand, allowing audiences of different backgrounds and ages to appreciate the aesthetic differences in further detail of these three important National Treasures in the National Palace Museum collection. "A Trio of National Treasures" is an exhibit lasting only 42 days, but we believe with the publication of this guidebook that even after it ends, it will continue to satisfy time after time everyone's longing to admire and appreciate these famous works.
Languages: Chinese and English
Related network resources: A Trio of National Treasures: Fan Kuan, Guo Xi, and Li Tang at the National Palace Museum