Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder

In 2018 during a tour of Taiwan, I visited the The National Palace Museum in Taipei, which claims the largest single collection of Chinese artefacts in the world, even more than the Forbidden City in Beijing, courtesy of Chiang Kai-shek (a cruel and ruthless leader for 40 years), he came bearing gifts, gold and thousands of historic Chinese relics.when he was exiled to Taiwan after the rise of Mao Zedong and the Communist Party in China.

The two most highly prized and valuable items are the sculptured Dongpo pork and Jade Cabbage.

Although I could appreciate the workmanship of both pieces, I decided that Beauty was indeed in the Eye of the Beholder!

Dong Po Rou is a traditional dish of braised pork belly, supposedly created by Su Dong Po (1037 – 1101), a famous writer, poet, painter, calligrapher, pharmacologist, gastronome, and statesman of the Song dynasty. Over the centuries, this Braised Pork Belly Dong Po Rou dish has become very popular, and once you taste it, you’ll know why.(

Credit: wikipedia
Credit: wikipedia

With insects camouflaged in the leaves, the Jade Cabbage is said to be an allegory of female virtue with the white stalk symbolizing purity, the leaves denoting fertility and abundance, and the insects representing children. The workmanship is amazing, but its beauty was a little lost on me.

The attachment to food continued as we spotted cushions in the shape of broccoli and cabbages which delighted some local girls. Much more to my liking were the delicious dumplings which we saw being prepared and freshly grilled prawns. (my own photos below).

Getting back to the most popular pieces at the National Palace Museum, I can only assume their beauty, relates to the taste buds rather than the eyes – but then Beauty is in the eye of the beholder!

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