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Taiwan, Japan universities launch exhibition of rare items

An exhibition of rare specimens and artifacts jointly held by National Taiwan University (NTU) and the University of Tokyo began in Taipei to promote education and research and rekindle the public’s curiosity, organizers said that day. The exhibition, titled “Extravagance: Out of Scale, Out of Norm, Out of Rule,” features around 50 specimens and replicas of rare insects, animals, plants and minerals.

Items on display include a long-tailed Onagadori cock with a 4.7-meter tail, an egg and leg bone of what was once the world’s heaviest bird — the Aepyornis — the world’s heaviest insect, the world’s largest moth, precious coral specimens and a rare green sea turtle.

Replicas of the world’s largest blue diamond, the world’s largest gold and platinum nuggets, and a fossilized egg of the tallest bird to have ever lived –the Moa — are also on display. Other exhibits include an intersex chicken and an X-ray photo of a 42-cm-long hand.

Yoshiaki Nishino, director of the Japanese university’s museum, said the urge to see unusual objects is human nature, but added that as society becomes increasingly populated with information, “the number of objects that are able to arouse people’s curiosity is gradually decreasing.” He said he hopes to bring back that sense of marvel through the exhibition.

NTU President Lee Si-chen said it is the third collaboration between the two universities’ museums and he expressed hope that in the future, items from NTU can also be exhibited in Tokyo to showcase some of the university’s well-preserved artifacts. The exhibition will run until Sept. 23 at the National Taiwan University Library.

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