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National Palace Museum

The Making of a National Treasure: Select Masterpieces of Painting and Calligraphy in the Museum Collection

According to the definition given by the ROC's Ministry of Culture in its "Cultural Heritage Preservation Act," the works of painting and calligraphy in the collection of the National Palace Museum belong to the category of "Historic Artifacts (Antiquities)." This means they are art objects with cultural importance representing the work of particular groups of people from certain periods of time over the course of history. These objects are further divided and classified into three groups, from the most important one of "National Treasures" to that of "Significant Historic Artifacts (Significant Antiquities)" and finally "General Historic Artifacts (General Antiquities)."

The task of ranking artifacts begins with the departments of each public institution in charge of their care. By the end of 2005, the National Palace Museum had already completed the initial classification of artifacts in its large collection. Afterwards, beginning in 2008, members of the Review Committee for Historic Artifacts at the Council for Cultural Affairs (the forerunner of the Ministry of Culture) worked in conjunction with painting and calligraphy exhibitions at the National Palace Museum to conduct inspections and written reviews confirming the works ranked as "National Treasures" and "Significant Historic Artifacts," thereafter publicizing the results.As of July 2017, a total of 184 "National Treasure" works/sets and 352 "Significant Historic Artifact" works/sets in the category of painting and calligraphy have been approved and declared.

The goal of organizing "The Making of a National Treasure" is with the hope, by exhibiting and interpreting masterpieces of painting and calligraphy in the National Palace Museum collection, to promote a better understanding of the purpose and results in classifying these historic artifacts. This exhibition features a selection of 45 works of painting and calligraphy, of which 34 are "National Treasures" and eleven are "Significant Historic Artifacts." 

The Making of a National Treasure: Select Masterpieces of Painting and Calligraphy in the Museum Collection
The Making of a National Treasure: Select Masterpieces of Painting and Calligraphy in the Museum Collection