Torn pieces of ancient Chinese painting reunited

AP News
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Posted: Apr 22, 2011 8:53 AM
Torn pieces of ancient Chinese painting reunited

Two pieces of a torn 660-year-old Chinese painting held by Taiwan and mainland China will be reunited for the first time in centuries at an exhibit at Taiwan's national museum, in a sign of warming ties between the rivals.

The main portion of "Dwelling in the Fuchun Mountains" by revered Chinese landscape painter Huang Gongwang has been stored in Taipei's Palace Museum since 1949, when the two sides separated during a civil war.

The other part of the 20-foot-long (6-meter-long) painting will be shipped from China's Zhejiang Provincial Museum for an exhibition opening June 2, Palace Museum Director Chou Kung-shin said.

The 40-day exhibition is widely seen as a gesture by China's government in support of Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou's three-year efforts to engage the mainland and reduce political hostilities.

The Yuan Dynasty painting was torn more than 300 years ago by a private collector who tried to burn it as he was dying, but a relative saved it from the flames, Chou said. The two parts have been kept in separate places since then.

"Huang finished the scroll at 81 when he was already a master painter," she said. "It is an important work in art history, and has changed hands among many noted collectors."

One part was taken from mainland China to Taiwan in the last stages of the civil war, along with about 600,000 other treasures now held by the Taipei museum.

China still claims Taiwan as part of its own territory and insists the art at the Palace Museum rightfully belongs to it, but has encouraged museum exchanges recently.

The Palace Museum and its counterpart in Beijing held their first joint exhibition in Taipei in 2009.