A burnt classic Chinese painting reunited after 360 years

Taipei: Visitors to Taipei`s Palace Museum have been offered a rare opportunity to view a Chinese painting in its entirety for the first time since being burnt into two pieces 360 years ago.

`Dwelling in the Fuchun Mountains` by famous Yuan Dynasty painter Huang Gongwang, was burnt into two in a fire in 1650, Xinhua reported.

After changing hands many times, the right part, 51.4-cm long, is kept in the mainland`s Zhejiang Museum, while the left part, 636.9-cm long, is held in Taipei`s Palace Museum.

The left part of the painting was among some 600,000 items shipped by the Kuomintang (KMT) government to Taipei from the Forbidden City, before it fled to Taiwan in 1949.

Based on this collection, Taipei`s "National Palace Museum" was founded in 1965.

The scroll painting vividly depicts an early autumn scene on the banks of the Fuchun river in Zhejiang Province and is regarded as one of the greatest achievements of the traditional Chinese landscape painting technique.

"As a painter of traditional Chinese ink painting, I have never seen this masterpiece before. It is like a dream that finally comes true," said He Shuifa, a noted painter from the mainland at the exhibition`s opening ceremony.

The artist completed the painting when he was 82-years old, and could be considered an abstract representation of his whole life, He said.

The ancient painting`s two parts have been placed together in a 16-metre glass cabinet in a stable temperature of 20 to 24 degrees Celsius and 58 to 63 percent relative humidity.

In March, last year, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao first called for a "reunification" of the scroll`s two pieces.

After several talks following his comments, the Zhejiang Museum and Taipei Palace Museum signed a memorandum and finally secured the exhibition in January.

The exhibition, displaying both parts of the scroll painting, opened in Taipei`s Palace Museum Wednesday and will run till Sept 25.


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