The National Palace Museum was established in Beijing on October 10, 1925, shortly after the expulsion of the last emperor of China from the Forbidden City. The articles in the museum consisted of the valuables of the former Imperial family and were moved from place to place in the 1930s and 1940s to prevent them from falling into the hands of the Japanese.
During the final years of the Chinese Civil War, the museum collections were moved under the orders of Chiang Kai-shek from the Chinese Imperial Palace to Taiwan. This removal has always been controversial with many within Mainland China viewing this as looting while some in Taiwan have argued that had the art not been moved to Taiwan in the 1940s, it would have been destroyed by the Cultural Revolution in the 1960s. With the victory of the Communists, the National Palace Museum was split into two. The first on the Mainland was centered on the Forbidden City and is described in that article.
The National Palace Museum on Taiwan has also been controversial on Taiwan with many supporters of Taiwan independence regarding it as an unwanted of China-centeredness.
During the 1960s and 1970s, the National Palace Museum was used by the Kuomintang to support its claim that the Republic of China was the sole legitimate government of all of China and tended to emphasize Chinese nationalism. More recently it has been more focused on local and minority cultures and has included some materials on loan from the People's Republic of China.
See also: Chinese art