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August 21, 2017

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Chi Mei founder donates museum to Tainan

Founder Shi Wen-long (許文龍) of Chi Mei Industrial Group (奇美實業集團) yesterday officially donated his new private Chi Mei Museum, located in the Tainan Metropolitan Park, to the Tainan City Government. The new museum will become a landmark of the metropolitan city after it is ready for operation in 2013.

Shi and Tainan City Mayor William Lai (賴清德) jointly presided over the donation ceremony.

The 14-floor museum features European-style architecture and is situated in a museum complex of 10 hectares, with total floor area of up to 12,000 pings (1 ping = 36 square feet). Construction of the new museum was kicked off in 2010, and will be officially completed by the end of 2013, with the total construction cost estimated at over NT$2 billion.

After the new museum becomes operational, it will be a new landmark of Tainan and is expected to attract at least 1 million visitors per year, according to the Bureau of Culture under the city government. Key exhibits of the new Chi Mei Museum will include numerous Western artworks.

On another front, the existing Chi Mei Museum, which occupies the fifth to eighth floors of the Chi Mei headquarters building, covers a total area of approximately 6,600 square meters. With free admission to the museum, visitors can experience the finest masterpieces from different civilizations and cultures without leaving Taiwan, and thus gain a broader view of the world, according to museum officials.

The officials said the objects in the existing collections fall into five main categories: Western art, musical instruments, historic artifacts, natural history and arms and armor.

In terms of Western art, the museum houses Roman mosaics and examples of Renaissance, Baroque, Rococo, Neo-classical and Romantic art, as well as Post-Impressionist art from the early 20th century; the collection of French paintings and sculptures from the late nineteenth century is particularly rich.

As for musical instruments, the Chi Mei Museum initially focused on collecting violins, violas and cellos by famous instrument makers. Subsequently, the scope of the museum's musical instrument collection expanded to include a wide range of historic instruments from all over the world, as well as automatic and mechanical musical instruments.

The antiquities held in the collections of the Chi Mei Museum are of great historical and cultural significance. They include historical artifacts from the great civilizations of the past, including Egypt, Greece, Rome, China and Sri Lanka. Through these artifacts, visitors to the museum can gain a better appreciation of how human civilization has evolved over the centuries.

Besides animals and birds, the natural history collection also includes an impressive range of butterfly specimens and meteorite fragments, along with a comprehensive, well-organized display of fossils. These displays are of immense value toward supporting schoolchildren's scientific education, while also constituting an important learning resource for the general public.

The arms and armor section includes items from Europe, India, Persia, Africa, Asia and Japan; the collections of Japanese samurai swords and armor, and European firearms, are particularly impressive in terms of both quantity and quality.

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