Literally translating to “Painting in little”, the history of miniature art can be traced back to as early as the 16th century. Prized by collectors around the world, there exists a museum in Taiwan, dedicated entirely to the art of miniature. The House of Miniatures in Taiwan. With social media handles strewn with pages dedicated exclusively to miniature art, it won’t be incorrect to say that miniature art is quite the “it” thing in art circles now.
Miniatures started off as a “prop” used for teaching aristocratic kids but museums started collecting them in an attempt to showcase this relatively unknown form of art then. The Miniature Museum of Taiwan is the first museum to collect miniatures in Asia.
An ode to everything small, most works in the museum are sized in the ratio of 12:1. This speaks of the implausible craftsmanship of the people behind this and the effort that has gone into the making of this museum. Once you set foot into this not-so-regular museum, you cannot help but marvel at the sheer size of the collection and the detailing of the same. Founded by Ms. Lin Chin-mei and her husband Lin Wen-ren in 1997, this had been on the cards since 1993. The couple has been collecting miniatures on trips, attending auctions and joining international miniature art associations.
The logo of the museum is one of its most talked about creations- the Rose Mansion. Rose Mansion took its creator Dr. Reginald Twigg almost 4 years to complete and is placed in America’s ten most significant miniature art-works in twenty-five years. The museum is dual-themed (doll house and room house with dissected views) and boasts of numerous works by very famed artists.
These miniature treasures have been collected over years from various artisans and is home to some unique pieces like a postage-stamp sized fully functional TV, scenes from fantasy epics and tales, a chandelier with bulbs the size of a grain of wheat, a whiskey glass measuring a centimeter, the famed Rose Mansion, traditional Japanese stores and even the Buckingham Palace.
The famous chandelier:
The arrangement of the museum is worth mentioning as well. Low benches are placed exclusively for children to have a better view of the exhibits and the owner Mr. Lin Wen Ren regularly visits the museum, hence contributing to this museum being particularly well maintained.
The charm of the museum lies in its details. Even the smallest object is paid attention to. Be it the tablecloth on the table or the rust on the old building or even the frosting on the cake, the artisan’s efforts and the collector’s passion is more than evident.
While most who visit this slightly different museum gush about its uniqueness and its intricate details, many say that quite a lot of pieces fail to live up to the hype and the entire museum is not as sophisticated or sleek as it sounds to be. However, it won’t be wrong to say that if you go without built-up notions and with an open mind, this place will surprise you, though in an entirely different way.
This place is not one of the overly-crowded tourist spots but you do find visitors-of all ages. Do not forget to check out the gift shop loaded with DIY stuff, either-furniture, kitchen sets, food sets, doll houses!
No camera can do proper justice to this museum. We sign off with the suggestion that you visit this grand world of small things in person, soon.
Written byAnwita Mukherjee
Anwita Mukherjee is a lawyer by education and has just finished her LLM from Jindal Global Law School. She has worked as a lawyer for a couple of corporate houses and is presently trying to metamorphose into a successful legal journalist.