National Taiwan Museum (NTM), affiliated with the Ministry of Culture, has cooperated with the Department of Entomology of National Taiwan University to plan the special exhibition Special Exhibition of Butterfly and Blessing: Resonance between Art and Science. The exhibition interprets the brilliance of butterflies from the perspectives of science, culture, and art. The show combines the collection from NTM and butterfly specimens from NTU. Altogether with the butterfly artifacts belonging to professor Yang Pingshi, 342 exhibits could be seen from now on to April 25th, 2021 in the West Exhibition Hall on the first floor of the museum.
Featuring both the themes of art and science, the exhibition is divided into three sections: Humanities and Arts, The Secret Garden, and The Conservation. Visitors will start the tour by first learning stories, poems, ballads about butterflies, and seeing butterfly-related works of art. Move on, they will be introduced to the scientific knowledge of the origins, taxonomy, life cycle, phylogeny, feeding habits, camouflage, mimicry, protective and aposematic coloration, flight, migration, and the conservation of butterflies. The museum expects the butterfly-themed exhibition of art and science can arouse the resonances of visitors.
Although Taiwan is only a 36-thousand-square-kilometer island, as many as 454 species of butterflies are documented over it, among which contains 56 species and four subspecies endemic to Taiwan. Since the density of butterfly population, rate of endemic species, and diversity of biological resources are high, Taiwan enjoys its reputation as “The Butterfly Kingdom”.
According to Hong Shiyou, the curator of NTM, butterflies outshine the other insects. They sip nectar from flowers, pollinate plants, and help to balance the ecology system. Aside from these natural habits of them, these colorful-winged creatures are also the inspiration behind traditional poems, writings, paintings, and other artworks. Therefore, foreign and local chants and ballads from both modern and ancient cultures sing about butterflies. Folklores, fairy tales, novels, dramas, about butterflies also prevail among people. Butterfly-themed festivals and artwork have also been popular. With significance in both ecology and cultural art, butterflies represent a fusion of the wonder of nature and the elegance of humanities. The insect has thus become the research subject for experts and scholars all over the globe, as well as an important topic introduced in popular science.
Dr. Yang Pingshi, honorary professor of NTU, is a prominent entomologist. While lecturing and conducting research in the university, Yang has also been dedicated to conserving ecology and promoting popular science education. He started collecting insect-related artifacts to meet the needs for his teaching. According to Dr. Yang, representative artifacts of butterflies, including paintings of butterflies, jade accessories in shapes of butterflies, snuff bottles, paperweights, porcelain pillows, fans, etc. are selected to show visitors the knowledge behind the history of these precious artifacts. The exhibition is great for families and parents with children. The exhibition and other promotions are aimed to appeal to the public for attention to butterfly conservation.
The special exhibition features museum tours with an expert guide, symposiums, and workshops. The museum has also arranged a book van in cooperation with Taipei Public Library that visited the NTM square on November 21st and 22nd, bringing picture books about butterflies. Additionally, the activity “Listen: Here Are Some Stories” will be held on November 21st We sincerely invite both children and teachers to come and join the brilliant storytelling activity. For more information, please visit the official website of NTM and look up the information in the “Learning” section (https://www.ntm.gov.tw/en/).