The National Palace Museum is an art gallery and museum in Taipei City, Taiwan, Republic of China containing artifacts of ancient China. It should not be confused with the Palace Museum (note the absence of the word "National"), which is the Forbidden City in Beijing. Both institutions derive from the same original institution, which was split in two as a result of the Chinese Civil War. The National Palace Museum in Taipei holds one of the largest collection of Chinese artifacts and artwork in the world.
The National Palace Museum was established in Beijing on October 10, 1925, shortly after the expulsion of Puyi, the last emperor of China, from the Forbidden City by warlord Feng Yu-hsiang. The articles in the museum consisted of the valuables of the former Imperial family and were moved from place to place in the 1930s and 1940s to prevent them from falling into the hands of the invading Imperial Japanese Army.
During the final years of the Chinese Civil War, the museum collections were moved, under the orders of Chiang Kai-shek, from Beijing's Forbidden City to Taiwan. This removal has always been controversial with many in Mainland China viewing this as looting while some in Taiwan arguing that had the art not been moved to Taiwan in the 1940s, much would have been destroyed during the Cultural Revolution in the 1960s. With the victory of the Communists, the National Palace Museum was split into two (the part on the mainland, like all other such institutions, lost its "National" designation). The part on the mainland is centered on the Forbidden City.
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