Unveiling Heritage: A Cultural Excursion to the National Palace Museum in Taipei

Programs for this blog post

Semester in Taipei

Authored By:

CIEE Taipei

By Chester Chou (Program Manager Taipei)


On March 23rd, 2024, CIEE Taipei led Spring-term students on an unforgettable cultural excursion to the renowned National Palace Museum. Situated in Taipei, the museum is a cultural gem that attracts travelers from around the globe, making it a must-visit destination for art enthusiasts and history buffs alike.

As we approached the National Palace Museum, we were enchanted by its fusion of ancient Chinese traditions and modern flair. Surrounded by lush greenery at the mountain's base, tranquility enveloped us. The traditional Chinese palace-style architecture, adorned with graceful sloping roofs and intricate carvings, beckoned us closer, hinting at the museum's rich cultural heritage and igniting our anticipation for the journey ahead.

Stepping into the grand halls of the National Palace Museum felt like stepping into another world. With a vast collection of over 700,000 art and artifacts spanning thousands of years of history, the museum offers a glimpse into China's illustrious past. Amidst hallowed halls and storied artifacts, curiosity danced, intertwining with palpable excitement. Each exhibit, from ancient ceramics and jade carvings to renowned paintings and calligraphy scrolls, tells a story of craftsmanship, innovation, and tradition.

Roaming the galleries, we marveled at intricate artifacts, tracing Chinese art and culture from the Ming to the Song Dynasty. The museum, beyond its stunning artifacts, is a treasure trove of knowledge. Exploring symbolism like dragons and phoenixes, we gained insights into cultural significance. Interactive exhibits enriched our understanding of ancient rituals, customs, and beliefs, deepening our appreciation for Taiwan's rich heritage.

Among the treasures, our gaze was drawn to two captivating displays: the Jade Cabbage and the Meat-shaped Stone. The Jade Cabbage, a masterpiece of Chinese jade carving, fascinated us with its intricate details. Crafted to resemble a cabbage with hidden locust and katydid figures, it symbolized fertility and prosperity, showcasing remarkable craftsmanship. Similarly, the Meat-shaped Stone, crafted from jasperite during the Qing Dynasty, amazed us with its lifelike depiction of braised pork. Despite its seemingly ordinary subject, the stone carving displayed extraordinary skill and attention to detail, blurring the lines between art and reality. Both artifacts left a lasting impression, captivating us with their cultural significance and artistic brilliance, transcending boundaries of language and nationality.

The museum’s gift shops were also cultural treasures. The shelves were filled with publications, reproductions, and souvenirs, each evoking tales of the past with intricate craftsmanship. A highlight was choosing postcards reflecting the museum's heritage and sending them from the museum's post office. We felt that these gift shops weren't just retail spaces; they were portals for sharing the museum's magic, leaving an enduring impact across borders and time.

As we bid farewell to the National Palace Museum, we carried with us more than just memories—we took home a deeper understanding of Taiwan's cultural heritage and a newfound appreciation for the beauty of Chinese art and craftsmanship. Our journey through the museum was a testament to the enduring legacy of the past and a celebration of the vibrant cultural tapestry that defines modern-day Taiwan.