Taipei Institute of History and Philology

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Our teacher, Austin, arranged a school trip for us today to visit the catchily-titled Taiwan Museum of the Institute of History and Philology. The name might not be world-class, but the exhibits certainly are, and they have a very nicely designed exhibition space. I was impressed.

The Oracle Bones

I was especially excited to see the ‘Oracle Bones‘, since I have recently finished reading the book by the same name by Peter Hessler, which punctuates his observations of modern Chinese people and the changes taking place in the society with a history of archeology in China. The ‘Oracle Bones’ are the roots to the written language, and were used by priests to divine the future, based on the inscriptions that they marked. It’s almost certainly worth another post, when I am feeling more academically inclined.

Walking around the museums in Taiwan makes me think back to my Grandfather, who was an amateur scholar of Chinese porcelain. I have no doubt that if he was still alive today I would have weekly requests to visit the museums and gather information. He never had the chance to visit Asia, and sometimes I wonder if I am in some way finishing off his work. Certainly, I wonder if my interest in Chinese culture indirectly comes from my childhood memories of his precious collections – especially the Ming dynasty vase that my Dad thoughtfully dropped me into head-first when I was but a wee nipper. Again, a story for another day.

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