12 October 2017

Tainan's Chimei Museum

Last updated: December 2019

On the way to Kaohsiung we decided to stop in Tainan and visit this beautiful museum..
Chimei Museum (奇美博物館) located in Rende District of Tainan was founded by Xu Wenlong, the founder of Chi Mei Industrial. It's the most private museum and art museum in Taiwan. Based on the collection of Western art, it exhibits four major fields of art, musical instruments, weapons and natural history. In the field of musical instruments, it has the largest number of violin collections in the world, including the masterpieces of the world's major luthiers. In terms of art, it's the most complete Western painting sculpture in Taiwan. The goal is to construct a basic Western art history. In the field of weapons, it displays the most precious ancient weapons of all countries in Asia and presents a history of technological evolution through war weapons. In the field of natural history, it has the largest collection of animal specimens in Asia, covering mammals and birds on five continents.

The Old ChiMei Museum was officially opened in 1992, using the 5th to 8th floors of the Chi Mei Industrial Building for free public visits. The Chimei Industrial Building has been decommissioned since May 2013 and the exhibits have been relocated to the new building in the Tainan Metropolitan Park. The project started in December 2008 and cost NT$1.85 billion to build. It covers an area of ​​9.5 hectares. It was donated to the Tainan Municipal Government on May 17, 2012 and was opened on January 1, 2015.

When Xu Wenlong was a child, he often visited the Tainan State Education Museum and decided to open a museum after he grew up. Later, after the establishment of Chi Mei Industrial, he became a big entrepreneur and was very interested in art and music. Starting from the collection of famous pianos (currently collecting more than a thousand violins), Chi Mei gradually expanded the field of collecting art and finally there were plans to set up museums. In 1977 Chimei Cultural Foundation was established. In 1989 was opened Chimei Art Museum. In 1992 Chimei Museum was established that was located 5th to 8th floors of the Chi Mei Industrial Building. It was opened to the public free of charge on April 1 the same year. In 2001 also Nankeqimei Museum was established in the Tainan Science Park to showcase the history of human evolution from art to machinery. In 2012 Chimei Group donated museum buildings in Tainan Metropolitan Park to the Tainan Municipal Government. The museum and the South Library collection was relocated to the new Metropark, which was opened in 2015.

The art collection of the Chimei Museum is dominated by Western oil paintings and sculptures. Since 1988, it has systematically and extensively searched works of various schools of art history, including the mosaic art of the ancient Roman Empire, Renaissance, Baroque, Rococo, neoclassical, Romanticism and Post-Impressionism. Among the most abundant collections are French paintings and sculptures of the nineteenth century.
The collection of weapons includes Japanese samurai swords hundreds of years ago, a variety of armor and so on. It includes weapons from China, Japan, Europe, ancient Indian Persia, Asia, and the Middle East.

The collection of musical instruments starts with the world famous piano and contains two Antonio Stradivari pianos. One of them is the cello "Bauer" (English: "Pawle") in 1730, and the other is the 1722 violin "Yao A-Xue-Ellman" (English: "Joachim-Elman"). And the two violins of Jesus Guarani, "Ore Boer" (1744) and "Lafont-Siskovsky" from 1733. Among them, the Guinari name violin "Ore Boer" (Norwegian: "Ole Bull"), which is worth about 300 million TWD. It's called a treasure of the Chimei Museum Town Hall. The actual collection of violins exceeds 450. After that, it began to collect automatic instruments and ancient instruments of the world, including stringed instruments, wind instruments, keyboard instruments, percussion instruments and so on.

The American 1920-year automatic piano playing in the automatic instrument exhibition area is controlled by punched paper rolls (equivalent to music), including piano, mandolin, flute, xylophone, drum, castanets, triangle and bird songs. The representative three violin and piano automatic ensemble instruments are also mechanically constructed to replace human fingers, and the operation of the bow and strings is an exquisite workmanship.
In order to allow more people to enjoy the famous instruments, not just in the display cabinet, the Chimei Museum will lend the violins collected in the museum to famous performers such as Ma Youyou, Lin Zhaoliang, Lu Siqing, Zeng Yuqian, etc. The Chimei Pipe Group was established in 2003 and holds a concert tour every year. In early 2007, Chimei decided to set the orchestra as a normal organization and reorganized it, and renamed it Chimei Philharmonic Orchestra. Orchestra members can also apply to borrow the famous piano from the museum collection.

Ancient artifacts such as Egypt, Mesopotamia, Greece, Rome, China, Islam, and Buddhism.
The Animal Hall has exhibited more than 2,000 specimens. The display is divided into North America, Africa, Arctic, Antarctic, South America, Australia, India, Europe, Asia, Taiwan, birds, fossils, meteorites and so on.

December 2019:

Chimei Museum, Rende District, Tainan City, 717

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