Two days before the Chinese New Year we went to see the National Palace Museum. Most people did not go to work this week, and so ...
subways (MRT mass rapid transit) were nearly empty (not like the packed in, shoulder to shoulder rush hour we usually experience.
Once you pass through the gate, you see the two lions standing guard and a long sidewalk leading to more stairs leading to Museum Hall #1.
After climbing the stairs and looking to the left, you see Museum Hall #2. We didn't have time to go there. We didn't have time to see a fraction of what was inside Hall #1. Actually, after two hours I was tired and ready to go home.
Chances are good that you will not understand the significance of this display. It represents a "1" and two "0"s. It represents the current year as measured from the year (1911) that the last mainland Chinese emperor of the Qing dynasty was ousted and independence was declared. So we arrived here in the year 99. I have a National Health Insurance card which lists my date of birth as 26/03/01. They use this scheme of reckoning some of the time, but they also use 2011 as we do.
This is outside, a huge metal pot with four legs and two handles, with Chinese writing and decoration. I'm not sure if there was a practical use, or if you just tried to have one bigger than your neighbor. We saw them in China also. Inside the museum are all kinds of artifacts, brought from China. The Nationalists were in control in mainland China for several decades, but when they were driven out by Mao in 1948-49, they took all of the valuables in the Forbidden City with them to Taiwan. So now if you want to see what used to be in the Forbidden City, you have to come to Taiwan.