Taipei, July 26 (CNA) A calligraphy piece by Qing Dynasty Emperor Kangxi (康熙), which honors the teachings of Confucius, has gone on display Tuesday at the National Palace Museum (NPM) Southern Branch in Chiayi County.
The piece, which reads “a model for teachers of thousands of generations,” portrays Kangxi’s excellent calligraphy skills and his admiration for Confucianism, the exhibition curator Tung Wen-e (童文娥) told CNA.
Designated a national treasure of Taiwan in 1988, the 405 centimeter by 120 cm piece is the source of etchings of the same phrase seen later on plaques in temples across China, Tung said.
It showcases “crisp, weighty and well-balanced brushstrokes” by Kangxi, which “impart a sense of grace and a rustic quality to the work,” the NPM’s southern branch said in a news release.
There were Chinese emperors before Kangxi who followed Confucius’ teachings, but he was the first to immortalize the philosopher’s ideology in calligraphy, according to Tung.
In 1684, Kangxi visited Confucius’ residence in the Chinese city of Qufu in Shandong Province, and he crafted the calligraphy piece that was later hung at the front entrance of the Confucius Temple in Qufu, Tung said.
The following year, the emperor decreed that copies of his calligraphy be distributed to temples that honor philosophers or deities who watched over people taking tests across China, Tung said.
The Kangxi calligraphy is being exhibited alongside other Qing Dynasty treasures such as the Meat-Shaped Stone; a zun (lidded wine container) in the form of an “elephant of peace;” a gold ruyi scepter with gemstone inlays; a famille rose porcelain gourd-shaped bottle with symbols of happiness, wealth, and longevity; and an artificial plant in a carved lacquer pot, the NPM southern branch said.
Curator Cheung Chi-gwong (張志光) said the exhibition has an underlying theme of “peace,” which prompted the selection of those pieces.
The Kangxi calligraphy piece will be on display until Oct. 2, in honor of Confucius, whose birthday is marked on Sept. 28, Teacher’s Day, Cheung said.
With the exception of the Meat-Shaped Stone, which will be archived on Oct. 30, the other exhibits will be available for public viewing until Jan. 29 next year, Cheung said.
(By Tsai Chih-ming and Sean Lin)
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