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3 March 2020 / leggypeggy

Jade treasures in Taiwan’s national museum


Bi-zun vessels, mid-Qing dynasty

Bi-zun vessels, mid-Qing dynasty, 1736–1820

Table screen, Qing dynasty

Table screen, mid to late Qing dynasty, 1736–1911

The National Palace Museum in Taipei is so large and so loaded with treasures that it’s impossible to share it all in one post. We set aside a whole day to explore this national treasure and its overwhelming collection—they have 700,000 pieces—not all on display.

I confess that I took more than 200 photos in just a few hours.

Looking back through the pics, I’ve settled on a way to share some of the glory. Green is one of my favourite colours and lots of jade (but not all) is in shades of green. The museum’s collection of jade covers the gamut of colours and carving techniques.

I was never all that interested in jade until we lived in Burma (now Myanmar) in the mid-1980s. Jade was abundant there. So much so that in 2017 a group of miners found a 174-tonne piece of jade worth about US$5 million.

There are actually two types of real jade—nephrite and jadeite. Nephrite is mainly a calcium magnesium silicate. Jadeite is rarer and is a sodium aluminium silicate. Myanmar is the source of nearly all of the world’s finest jadeite, which highly prized in neighbouring China where it is known as the ‘stone of heaven’. Brightly coloured jadeite is commonly known as feicui (kingfisher feathers).

Jadeite also occurs in the USA, Guatemala and Japan. Nephrite is most commonly found in China, Russia, Taiwan, USA, New Zealand and Australia.

Jadiete cabbage in a cloisonné flowerpot

Jadiete cabbage in a cloisonné flowerpot, Qing Dynasty, 1644–1911

The Jadeite Cabbage from the Qing Dynasty is one of the museum’s most popular jade pieces. Made in the shape of a head of Chinese cabbage (a bok choy), the carving includes a katydid and a locust camouflaged in the leaves. The craftsman followed the natural colours of the jadeite to turn the green parts into the leaves and the white parts into the stems. This piece was originally part of a decorative setting in the Qing court. We saw it in Taipei, but until May it is being displayed at the southern branch of the museum in Taibao City.

Meat-shaped stone, Taipei

My photo of a photo of the meat-shaped stone. So realistic

Another popular museum piece is the Meat-shaped Stone. It’s not jade, but banded jasper, a form of agate. The craftsman enhanced the natural banding by staining layers of the stone so that it looked more like pork that had been braised in soy sauce. This piece is usually shown with the cabbage, but it was in on display in Taibao City when we were in Taipei.

I’m still trying to decide which piece is my favourite after the cabbage. What’s yours?

Vase, gift to the Empress of Japan

Green jade vase, gift to the Empress of Japan in 1940

Jade screen

Jade screen, gift to the Emperor of Japan about 1940


Leave a Comment
  1. gigglingfattie / Mar 3 2020 10:16 pm

    WOW 🤩 so detailed!! and I feel like so many of them are so small! Omg I love them!

    Liked by 3 people

    • leggypeggy / Mar 3 2020 10:36 pm

      You guessed right. Many are quite small.

      Liked by 2 people

      • gigglingfattie / Mar 3 2020 11:21 pm

        We have carvings at our art gallery that are the same – so tiny and so detailed! I could look at them for hours

        Liked by 1 person

      • leggypeggy / Mar 3 2020 11:37 pm

        I agree, they are so intriguing.


  2. Eliza Ayres / Mar 3 2020 10:17 pm

    Reblogged this on Blue Dragon Journal and commented:

    Liked by 3 people

  3. derrickjknight / Mar 3 2020 10:30 pm

    Wonderful pieces so well photographed

    Liked by 4 people

  4. fragglerocking / Mar 3 2020 10:45 pm

    These are lovely, I especially like the cabbage and the cup and saucer.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Anna / Mar 3 2020 11:38 pm

    I still remember being freaked out by the skulls with jade teeth in them in Guatemala. Not sure about the green teeth look! These pieces are amazing though, what a museum!

    Liked by 3 people

    • leggypeggy / Mar 4 2020 8:56 am

      Green teeth don’t do anything for me either. Haha!


  6. ralietravels / Mar 4 2020 12:11 am

    The jade is beautiful but what I remember most from our 1984 visit was the ivory. I don’t support ivory trade in any way, but sensibilities were different just one hundred years ago. The carved ivory in the museum was a miracle of technical skill as well as beauty.

    Liked by 3 people

    • leggypeggy / Mar 4 2020 8:57 am

      I don’t support the ivory trade either, but know what you mean about the technical skill in carving it.


  7. Yeah, Another Blogger / Mar 4 2020 12:49 am

    More than 200 photos? You’re an addict!

    Liked by 3 people

  8. Gilda Baxter / Mar 4 2020 1:15 am

    Beautiful precious pieces, I loved the meat-shapped stone….so cool. Thanks for sharing some of your photos 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  9. shoestringdiary / Mar 4 2020 1:52 am

    The cabbage jade with a bug looks really exquisite.

    Liked by 3 people

  10. dfolstad58 / Mar 4 2020 3:38 am

    Wow! Such amazing talent, and beautiful pieces. Thank you for sharing. I like the cabbage carving the best – mind blowing. I hope that while you were in Myanmar you bought some nice jade for yourself to keep as a memento. I hope there will be a few more instalments from this museum.

    Liked by 3 people

    • leggypeggy / Mar 4 2020 9:13 am

      Yes, I have a few precious jade pieces. Not that they were particularly expensive, but that they mean a lot to me.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Brian Lageose / Mar 4 2020 3:45 am

    Lots of lovely pieces (and terrific photos!), but you know I go for drama so of course I’m enamored with the jade screen at the end. I know just the place to put it!

    Liked by 3 people

  12. beetleypete / Mar 4 2020 5:03 am

    Beautiful detailed work in these, Peggy. I wanted to buy some jade when I visited China, but I was warned about being duped into buying ‘fake jade’.
    (Thanks for the card sent to Michele. I will deliver it tomorrow)
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 3 people

    • leggypeggy / Mar 4 2020 9:15 am

      I don’t know how to tell if jade is genuine or fake. Glad the card arrived.

      Liked by 1 person

      • beetleypete / Mar 4 2020 10:32 am

        Usually it’s a ‘scratch’ test. Some traders won’t let you scratch it. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  13. Gail’s Snapshotsincursive / Mar 4 2020 5:04 am

    I am fascinated by jade. 🌟✨💫

    Liked by 3 people

  14. Sherry Thomas / Mar 4 2020 7:01 am

    Wow. Thanks for your posts Leave for cruise Thursday. Meeting Sharon in Singapore. We really need to get together sometime! Miss you and John Love S L

    Sent from my iPad


    Liked by 3 people

    • leggypeggy / Mar 4 2020 9:16 am

      Have a wonderful time. Love to you and Sharon.


  15. Phyllis / Mar 4 2020 9:35 am

    Stunning! I love the screen.

    Liked by 3 people

  16. A Mindful Traveler / Mar 4 2020 12:10 pm

    Oh wow, that meat shaped stone looks so real you could eat it… minus a few teeth Lol 😉

    Liked by 3 people

  17. thewonderer86 / Mar 4 2020 1:57 pm

    That pork stone is incredible!

    Liked by 3 people

  18. Lynette d'Arty-Cross / Mar 4 2020 3:46 pm

    So beautiful!! Thanks for sharing. 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  19. Kristine Howard / Mar 4 2020 5:05 pm

    Very beautiful. Incredible workmanship.

    Liked by 3 people

  20. Jolandi Steven / Mar 4 2020 9:31 pm

    It must have been difficult to drag yourself out of that museum, Peggy. Such an enticing sample you are teasing us with. I can only imagine what other gorgeous pieces are to be found there.

    Liked by 3 people

  21. barkinginthedark / Mar 6 2020 9:39 am

    Peggy, i do trust you and poor John will give serious thought to getting on a plane during this Coronavirus thing. stay well. continue…

    Liked by 3 people

  22. krc / Mar 6 2020 2:17 pm

    Awesome pieces!

    That meat one looks like pork to me.


    Liked by 3 people

  23. jeanleesworld / Mar 6 2020 10:49 pm

    There is such a patience seen in the carving here that I love! It makes me wonder if people today can do such detail with their hands. I hope so!

    Liked by 3 people

  24. Sy S. / Mar 7 2020 3:42 pm

    Wonderful Jade Artwork in Taiwan’s National Museum!

    So I might ask, do you have some time to spend on the Internet.. If yes, then Google;
    Jade Around the World
    Jade Colors
    Jade Images

    >>Jade is a very widespread stone that ranges in many countries depending on whether it is a Nephrite or Jadeite deposit. Nephrite is more common between China, New Zealand, Russia, and the Swiss Alps. However, the more dark, vibrant, green Jadeite gemstones are found mainly in North America and specifically Western Canada. This being said, lighter shades of Jadeite are also found around China, Russia, and Guatemala. Jade is found in mountain deposits and mined through a process that is very ….<<

    Sy S.

    Liked by 2 people

    • leggypeggy / Mar 7 2020 9:20 pm

      Oh wow Sy, thanks the the Google tips. Off to check them out.


  25. Phil Huston / Mar 8 2020 1:50 am

    I want to vote for #1, the Bi-zun vessels because it’s got so much going for it that seeps all the way into Art Deco, but – The perspective in #2? Unheard of in a relief, at least in my experience. Most seem straight on, or obviously 2 dimensional. That piece is like 3D, sitting on a hill watching the scene unfold. The fun humorous stuff that probably graced entryway tables and vanities and kitchen windows, yeah, okay. But that panel? Sheesh…
    As always, Thank You for the exposure! (Was that an unintentional pun?)

    Liked by 3 people

    • leggypeggy / Mar 8 2020 8:49 am

      You’re right, that first piece does have an art deco look. It’s one of my favourites too. Puns always welcome.


  26. Jadi Campbell / Mar 9 2020 7:44 pm

    We just went to the Jade Museum in San José, Costa Rica! I’ll be posting about it once Uwe gets his photos done (which might be sometime this summer, given the number of photographs he took). The San José museum included lots of historical and cultural contexts about the use of jade. Peggy, when I do finally blog it, I’d like to link to your post. The comparison of countries’ techniques and importance of the stone is fascinating!

    Liked by 3 people

    • leggypeggy / Mar 9 2020 9:01 pm

      Hi Jadi—what a great idea. I’d love to see the comparison. Look forward to your post.

      Liked by 1 person

  27. Curt Mekemson / Mar 10 2020 11:21 am

    The second piece is my favorite, Peggy, but the cabbage is next. Like you, I am a fan of green jade. –Curt

    Liked by 3 people

    • leggypeggy / Mar 10 2020 11:41 am

      The textures in that second one are incredible. Same with the cabbage. I think I might wear some green jade today.


  28. Jasodhara Batabyal / Mar 10 2020 11:28 pm

    Beautiful shots. Please have a look at my blog as well.

    Liked by 3 people

  29. Sartenada / Mar 11 2020 6:44 pm

    Oh-la-la! They are awesome! I believe it easily that you took more than 200 photos. I am glad that you presented these art pieces. Thank you.

    Have a good day!

    Liked by 3 people

  30. very fantastics creations! I like all ^_^

    Liked by 3 people

  31. Zambian Lady / Mar 12 2020 9:09 am

    The Chinese cabbage! That is some workmanship.

    Liked by 3 people

  32. MichaelStephenWills / Mar 14 2020 4:53 am

    treasure and well presented

    Liked by 3 people

  33. kunstkitchen / Mar 14 2020 2:05 pm


    Liked by 3 people

  34. Jean's Vlogs / Mar 17 2020 1:25 pm

    These look fantastic!

    Liked by 3 people

  35. chattykerry / Mar 18 2020 8:39 am

    I love jade and jadeite and it’s opacity – and am in awe of the beautiful craftsmanship. Beautiful. I bought Teddy a local raw piece of jade in British Columbia. It feels silky to the touch. Lovely photographs, Peggy.

    Liked by 3 people

  36. sunnydaysinseattle / Apr 5 2020 7:42 pm

    I love that museum. How did you take that jade cabbage with grasshopper picture? I couldn’t find a single picture I took of it, which is rare. So I thought it must have been the reflection of the glass case. How did you manage to do it? Thanks ~Sunny

    Liked by 2 people

    • leggypeggy / Apr 5 2020 9:04 pm

      I visited the cabbage three times that day and took pictures every time. I won’t bother showing all the mistakes.

      Liked by 1 person

  37. kootuss / Apr 9 2020 1:46 am

    Lovely, these are beautiful. Mind blowing!!

    Liked by 3 people

  38. tony / Apr 14 2020 12:41 pm

    Stunning! May get there one day.

    Liked by 3 people

  39. John Confidus / Apr 18 2020 3:03 am

    Looking at your photos I get cool virtual travels! Everything is very finely noticed! Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 3 people

    • leggypeggy / Apr 18 2020 7:27 am

      You are most welcome. Thanks for stopping by and for commenting.


  40. indianeskitchen / Apr 20 2020 8:44 am

    How beautiful thank you for sharing them!!!

    Liked by 3 people

  41. Lyndall Linaker / Apr 28 2020 5:15 pm

    I also loved this museum in Taipei and then last year the Art Gallery of NSW in Sydney hosted a few of its treasures and so I was reacquainted with some of the pieces. I love the cabbage, but also remember one small piece which was like a ball, inside a ball, inside a ball which had been worked on by three different generations of jade carvers which seemed absolutely extraordinary!

    Liked by 3 people

    • leggypeggy / Apr 28 2020 5:19 pm

      I think I have a picture of that ball. Maybe an inspiration for my next post.


  42. charlypriest / May 11 2020 9:29 pm

    A pleasure to meet you, a very interesting blog you have.

    Liked by 3 people

  43. milliethom / May 19 2020 1:20 am

    Wonderful photos, as always, Peggy. To say that the pieces of art you photographed are treasures is an understatement. Green is certainly an awesome colour and jade is magnificent.

    Liked by 3 people

    • leggypeggy / May 19 2020 7:22 am

      Thanks Millie. I love green but it doesn’t seem to be in fashion this year. I need to get two chairs recovered and can’t find any suitable fabric.


  44. Middager / Jun 2 2020 7:11 pm

    Though I’ve never been to this museum in my life, these jades look beautiful. Long time ago there were many jades manufactured here, and only rich people could be able to have them. But now, there are few.

    Liked by 3 people

    • leggypeggy / Jun 2 2020 9:04 pm

      We lived in Burma (Myanmar) in the 1980s. They manufactured lots of jade then. I don’t know about now.


      • Middager / Jun 2 2020 9:19 pm

        I can still see lots of Jades from Myanmar in Taiwan. So, I think there are still many.

        Liked by 1 person

      • leggypeggy / Jun 2 2020 9:25 pm

        Thanks for letting me know.


  45. annabelletroy / Jun 15 2020 8:45 am

    Reminds me of some little pieces of antique jade jewelry I have, though mine are not nearly as grand!

    Liked by 3 people

    • leggypeggy / Jun 15 2020 12:01 pm

      I have some jade pieces too that aren’t grand, but I love them anyway.

      Liked by 1 person

      • annabelletroy / Jun 17 2020 8:17 am

        I’ve become quite a jade fan. Love the different hues of green, so peaceful and not flashy.

        Liked by 1 person

      • leggypeggy / Jun 17 2020 12:07 pm

        Jade comes in a lot of colours. I have some in pink, black and shades of brown.


  46. J.D. Riso / Sep 22 2020 1:37 am

    Absolutely beautiful work. I’d say my favorite is the panels. I’d love to have that in my little house. Dream on. Haha.

    Liked by 3 people

  47. Anita / Dec 16 2021 11:49 pm

    Have a very nice day dear, waiting for new post

    Liked by 1 person

  48. Anita / Jan 12 2022 12:41 am

    Hi there
    Happy New year dear, best wishes to you and yours

    Liked by 1 person

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