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'King Wu Ding and Lady Hao' unveil late Shang Dynasty secrets

The National Palace Museum (NPM, 國立故宮博物院) is hosting another important exhibition on the first floor of the Library Building until Feb. 19.

“King Wu Ding and Lady Hao: Art and Culture of the Late Shang Dynasty” (商王武丁與后婦好─殷商盛世文化藝術) highlights the life of a remarkable lady who, in addition to being a valiant warrior, was also a military leader on par with any male general of her day. The exhibition also unveils the destiny of the 23rd king of the Shang Dynasty (1600 - 1046 B.C.), Wu Ding.

Wu King reigned for 59 years. He was posthumously named Gaozong of Yin, which refers to the last Shang capital, and is remembered for his reign over a period of dynastic revival. Hao, his favorite wife, was a mother, a high priestess and a warrior who led troops to quell a rebellion, making her the first-known female military leader in Chinese history.

Although her remarkable feat was not recorded in canonical history, several oracle bone inscriptions, one of the earliest surviving forms of Chinese writing, make references to her.

These precious artifacts excavated from the ruins of Yin shed light on the aesthetics of the period, as well as the feats of Wu Ding and Lady Hao. They also provide insight into the classical culture of the late Shang Dynasty, thereby filling in the gaps of Chinese history.

“King Wu Ding and Lady Hao: Art and Culture of the Late Shang Dynasty” brings together three objects from the NPM, 232 from the Institute of History and Philology at Academia Sinica, 117 from the Institute of Archaeology at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, eight from the Henan Museum, and one each from the Royal Ontario Museum in Canada and the National Museums Scotland, making for a total of 362 carefully selected artifacts. ■

'King Wu Ding and Lady Hao: Art and Culture of the Late Shang Dynasty' (商王武丁與后婦好─殷商盛世文化藝術) ► From now until Feb. 19, 2013 / National Palace Museum (國立故宮博物院) / No. 221 Sec. 2 Chih-shan Rd., Shilin, Taipei City (台北市士林區至善路二段221號) / NT$0 ~ NT$160 / 02-2881-2021 / www.npm.gov.tw

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Courtesy of NPM

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