An ancient plate borrowed from Japan fell from its stand at National Palace Museum

The China Post

TAIPEI, Taiwan — A 300-year-old plate borrowed from Japan was discovered to have slipped from its stand at the National Palace Museum’s branch in Chiayi on Tuesday.

The plate — a blue-and-white relic adorned with images of willow trees and birds — is suspected to have been damaged in the fall.

A curator from Japan will arrive in Chiayi today to assess the damage.

Just before the museum opened at 9 a.m. Tuesday, staff members on patrol noticed that the plate had slipped from its stand inside its display case.

Museum officials said they immediately contacted staff at the Osaka museum, as well as the plate’s insurance company.

They allowed people into the exhibition only after inspecting the other relics and ensuring that all was normal.

The plate was on display in a case with other 34 pieces and that none of the other pieces had moved from their positions, according to National Palace Museum.

The dish has an insured value of 2.2 million yen and 300 years of history, dating back to Japan’s 1660-1670 Edo age.

It’s part of the “Kimono 18th-20th Century Japanese Apparel Special Exhibition,” a showcase on loan from The Museum of Oriental Ceramics in Osaka.

Kobayashi Hitoshi, the curator from Osaka, is expected in Taiwan to investigate the cause of the slippage and to assess the damage. At his request, the plate has not been removed from its case.

Lu Ching-jung (盧慶榮), head of the Southern Branch of the National Palace Museum, said the museum had pulled surveillance camera footage from July 16 and 17.

An initial investigation concluded that there were no human factors behind the plate’s fall, Lu said.

The museum said it would wait for the Japanese curator to assess the damage and identify the cause. The case will be handled according to international custom, it said.

The China Post interns Teresa Wu and Zoe Chen contributed to this report.