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Outcry in mainland China as Taiwan’s Taipei Palace Museum lends priceless calligraphy masterpiece by Yan Zhenqing to Japan

台北故宫博物院将颜真卿的无价书法作品《祭侄文稿》借给日本,中国大陆对此强烈抗议



The National Palace Museum in Taipei’s decision to lend a 1,200-year-old masterpiece of calligraphy to a Japanese museum has prompted an outcry on the other side of the Taiwan Strait.
The fragile Requiem to My Nephew, written during the Tang dynasty by Yan Zhenqing will be on display in the Tokyo National Museum from Wednesday until February 24.

台北故宫博物院决定将一幅1200年前的书法杰作借给一家日本博物馆,引起了台湾海峡对岸的强烈抗议。
由唐朝颜真卿所写的《祭侄文稿》将于周三至2月24日在东京国立博物馆展出。

The ink and paper document had been preserved in Chinese imperial courts for centuries until it was taken to Taiwan by the defeated Nationalist forces at the end of the civil war in 1949.
The piece was last shown to the public in 2011 in an exhibition in the Taipei Palace Museum.

这幅水墨作品此前已由中国皇庭已经保存了数个世纪,直到1949年内战结束时被战败的国民党军队带到台湾。
这件作品最后一次向公众展示是在2011年台北故宫博物院的一个展览上。



Legend has it that the younger Yan was taken as a hostage to force his father, the governor of Changshan, to surrender but was put to death when his father refused.
The family was not able to recover any of Yan Jiming’s remains until two years later – and only his skull and one foot were recovered.
In great grief and pain, Yan wrote how the nephew was born with exceptional virtue and grew to be the family pride.
The note, which is believed to a draft of a more formal eulogy, shows various corrections and crossings out, but is regarded as a great masterpiece of the Xingshu, or running script, style.

相传,年轻的颜季明被当作人质,强迫其父亲常山太守投降,但在被拒后他被处死。
家人直到两年后才找到颜季明的遗骨,只有他的头颅和一只脚被找到。
颜真卿悲痛欲绝写下该祭文,道侄子生来就有着非凡的品德,成长为家族的骄傲。
这篇祭文条被认为是一份更正式的悼词的草稿,其中充满了各种各样的更正和删改,但其被认为是一幅伟大的行书作品。

The news of the loan to Japan triggered an outcry on social media, with the tag “Requiem to My Nephew” being read 230 million times on Weibo, attracting 146,000 comments.

借给日本的消息引发了社会媒体的强烈抗议,微博上“祭侄文稿”的话题被阅读了2.3亿次,引来14.6万条评论。

“The original Requiem to My Nephew is too precious to be allowed for exhibition outside the country. It embodies the unyielding spirit of the Yan’s family who lost their lives fighting rebellions,” wrote one Weibo user.
“It embodies the grief of an uncle who had to write an obituary of his nephew while looking at his skull. It had to be relocated during war but why would it be lent to Japan for free and without proper protection?”
“I felt so sad,” wrote another user. “Let’s unite Taiwan by force. I can’t take it any more.”

一位微博用户写道:“祭侄文稿太珍贵了,不应该允许在国外展览。它体现了颜氏家族不屈的精神,他们在反抗中牺牲了生命。”
“它体现了一位叔叔的悲痛,他不得不看着自己侄子的头骨写下悼词。战争期间它不得不被迁移,但为什么它会被免费借给日本,且没有得到适当的保护?“
另一位用户写道:“我感到很难过。让我们用武力统一台湾吧。我再也受不了了。”



“The piece is more than 1,200 years old and it is at the end of its time in human life. We can understand the fragility of the paper and the public’s anger,” Zhou wrote.
“The practice of the National Palace Museum in Taipei is not a blessing for cultural relics. I hope the museum can put aside other factors and carefully consider loaning cultural relics.
“I also hope that the seal at the end of the manuscript urging ‘future generations to safeguard this’ can be promise kept by generation after generation.”

“这件作品已有1200多年的历史,若以人类的寿命来算,早已是耄耋之年。我们可以理解这件纸质作品的脆弱性和公众的愤怒。”周写道。
“台北故宫博物院的做法并不是对文物的祝福。希望博物院能抛开其他因素,慎重考虑文物外出展览一事。”
“我也希望《祭侄文稿》的落款“子孙保之”,真正成为一份代代相传的承诺。”