Saturday, April 14, 2007

Taiwan, Taiwan National Museum

Arrived yesterday in Taipei and met up with my friend Kyle from when I studied in China. He's been living here for 2 years and promises to show me the real Taiwan. I'll be crashing on his couch for the next week or so. I'm liking it here so far, only problem is the weather has been cloudy and drizzling on and off all day today and I'm told all last week too.

Kyle had to work today so his girlfriend took me around. One of the big sites here is the National Museum where they show off all the priceless ancient historical artifacts that that Taiwanese transferred/stole from mainland China when they fled here in the 40s. It's a huge point of contention between the mainland and Taiwan, supposedly there is a massive underground vault in the mountains where all the artifacts are stored and they rotate the displays in the museum from the vault. According to Kyle, it will take 100 years to display all the artifacts in the vault.

There is plenty of politicizing and whitewashing of history going on; both on the China and Taiwan side. When the communists took power they wanted to destroy all the old culture and these artifacts were symbols of the borgeoise oppression of China's past. I could write pages about this, but I'll save the history lesson. It brings me to my first picture in Taiwan, the following historical timeline shown at the entrance to the national museum (click on it to get the full version of what I'm talking about)

If you look closely, the Taiwanese were the first civilization on earth! Apparently, all civilization is descendent from a tiny island off the coast of China...fascinating. They predate all african, mesopotamean, and even Egyptian culture when the Taiwanese showed up in 6000 BC. Notice China is not mentioned, only Taiwan. Subtle...

The other picture was just funny...this woman was striking a serious pose out in from of the museum...I was cracking up watching this take place. Had to walk far away and zoom in real close.

Overall the museum was cool, a lot smaller than I expected...I tried to show my 3yrs expired student ID to get in for half price but they weren't falling for that trick. Cost $7 to get in, but worth it, if only for that timeline of world history.


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