Cultural Relics of the Mongols in the National Palace Museum Collection
Publisher: The National Palace Museum (2015)
Language: Chinese/ Mongolian
The catalogue features four sections. The first of "Imperial Portraits" presents the Museum's two precious albums of bust portraits of Mongol Yuan emperors and empresses in their entirety, the former having eight leaves and the latter fifteen. The second one on "Life and Culture" includes a selection of twelve artifacts, including three paintings and two jades on hunting or falcons that mainly describe how the Mongols still preserved important aspects of their nomadic lifestyle after becoming the rulers of China. Two books from the Yuan dynasty on poetry and food record the literary and culinary side of Mongol Yuan life, while a Yuan illustrated ceramic presents the period interest in drama. The Mongols and their long heritage as followers of Tibetan Buddhism led to the selection here of a Buddhist tapestry and illustrated sutra, while a Taoist text presents another facet to the diversity of religious beliefs in the Yuan dynasty. When Kublai Khan ordered Preceptor of State Phagspa to create a new form of writing for the Mongolian language in 1260, the result was "Phagspa scipt," which became the national language in 1269. For this catalogue, five Yuan dynasty seals featuring this script have been chosen, providing valuable information on the Mongolian language. The third section on "History and Geography" includes six important treatises on these two subjects from the Yuan dynasty, while the fourth section on "The Imperial Collection" features five works of "national treasure" status once in the Yuan imperial collection, as evidenced by seals impressed on them by members of the imperial family and their institutions. It indicates that these works were also highly prized by the Mongol rulers for their cultural and artistic value. With the collection of the National Palace Museum as seen here, I firmly believe that a concrete understanding of Mongol Yuan culture can be achieved.