The National Palace Museum (NPM) has decided to remove bronze sculptures donated by Hollywood movie star Jackie Chan and displayed at its southern branch, due to controversy surrounding the artworks.
At a legislative session Thursday, NPM Director Lin Jeng-yi (???) said the 12 bronze zodiac sculptures will be removed from the main entrance of the museum's southern branch in Chiayi County by the end of September.
The animal head sculptures are replicas of artworks that were looted from China's Old Summer Palace by British and French forces in 1860. They are currently displayed on the plaza outside of the museum's main building.
The decision to remove the sculptures was made mainly because "people in art circles" do not see the sculptures as public art or having high artistic value, according to Lin.
Elected officials are also concerned that the pieces carry social and political implications, while cultural workers have suggested exhibiting local artworks instead, he said.
As for where the sculptures will be placed after their removal, Lin said the museum is still discussing the matter.
Chan donated the sculptures to the museum at the inauguration of its southern branch last year. But the sculptures have since stirred up much controversy, given Chan's role as a member of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference.
Shortly after the sculptures went on display, a young couple was arrested for vandalizing the sculptures by pouring red paint on them. They left the words "war of cultural unification" at the scene.
The Jackie Chan Group said Thursday that it has donated the artworks to the NPM because it believes the NPM "respects civilization and protects culture."
"If the National Palace Museum holds a different attitude about 'respecting civilization and protecting culture,' then we also respect that," the group said.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel