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July 23, 2017

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NPM's precious treasures to tour Japan on June 24

The National Palace Museum's (NPM) most popular and precious items, the Jadeite Cabbage and the Meat-shaped Stone, will visit Japan for the first time on June 24; two Japanese museums have agreed to jointly display 150 of their cultural artifacts in Taiwan in 2016.

The Jadeite Cabbage with Insects will be on display for two weeks at the Tokyo National Museum, while the Meat-shaped Stone will make an appearance for two weeks at the Kyushu Museum. It will be the first time the two artifacts have been be exhibited abroad.

Director Feng Ming-chu (馮明珠) said that the Japanese government has been expressing interest in borrowing cultural artifacts from the NPM since 1961 and it has sent requests to the NPM stating that without seeing artifacts from the museum, they cannot properly understand Chinese culture.

In order to successfully get the NPM to agree to display the two valuable artifacts, Feng said that many high-ranking Japanese government officials and leaders visited Taiwan between 2011 and 2013.

Feng said that after the Tokyo National Museum and Kyushu Museum proposed to jointly display 150 of their cultural artifacts, including 68 National Treasures and Important Cultural Properties, in Taiwan in a reciprocal exhibition in 2016, the NPM finally decided to display its two most important cultural artifacts in Japan.

In addition to the two popular items, the exhibitions will feature rare ancient books, calligraphy, paintings and embroidery, as well as ceramics, bronzes and jade objects.

According to Feng, the Tokyo National Museum said that pre-sale tickets for the exhibition were already sold out and she was proud of the fact that Japanese really value the NPM's cultural artifacts.

Despite boasting one of the world's largest collections of Chinese artifacts and artworks — reputed to number more than 680,000 items — the National Palace Museum has only made four large overseas loans since its establishment in 1965.

They were to the United States in 1996, France in 1998, Germany in 2003 and Austria in 2008 — but only after those countries passed laws to prevent seizure of the treasures by Beijing.

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