The Palace Zoo—Animal Paintings from the National Palace Museum Collection

In what is certainly a first, the National Palace Museum (NPM) in Taipei presents in its main galleries a special exhibition for children entitled “The NPM Zoo: Animal Paintings in the Museum Collection.” From July 5 to September 25, children can come to the NPM and see paintings on all kinds of animals, ranging from ferocious ones (such as the lion and tiger) to fascinating and adorable ones (including the giraffe and goldfish). The “big brother and sister” curators at the NPM who take care of their precious “pets” in art have carefully selected some of the best and most interesting paintings of them to share with kids this summer.

The exhibition features easy-to-understand descriptions and lively designs to show off each and every one of these creatures large and small, offering everyone a truly unique experience of not only sight but also sound, touch, and even smell! Photographs of actual animals share the stage with ancient paintings, allowing children to quickly see the difference between the creatures in art and those of the real world. In addition, the galleries include animal specimens, skins, and puppets to give young visitors a close-up and hands-on approach to the animal world. You can also hear recorded sounds of animals…can you imagine what they’re trying to say or how they feel? And you can even smell some recycled paper made from elephant and hippopotamus dung…that “special” odor certainly makes you feel much closer to the animals!

So, when you think about it, coming for a stroll at the exhibit in the National Palace Museum is like taking a leisurely walk at the zoo. Every painting on display was done many years ago after someone had carefully observed the animals, making each one similar to a sketch we do when visiting a zoo…the only difference being that the ancient depictions are probably much better than ours! In all, we hope that after coming to “The NPM Zoo: Animal Paintings in the Museum Collection,” every child (and adult) will not only love these precious paintings of animals but also the NPM even more…oh, and don’t forget the animals!

For more information, please visit the National Palace Museum website.