Hi-res artwork scans from Taiwan’s National Palace Museum leak on-line — and switch up on the market on Chinese on-line buying platform

Hong Kong

A Taiwanese museum that homes among the world’s most treasured Chinese artworks has confirmed that as much as 100,000 high-resolution photos of work and calligraphy leaked on-line – a few of them turning up on the market on a Chinese buying platform for lower than $1.

The National Palace Museum in Taipei stated Tuesday it had reached out to Taobao, a buying web site in style in mainland China, to stop the pictures from spreading.

“We are looking into it and have hired lawyers to raise to Taobao about the intellectual properties and damages involved,” stated deputy museum director Huang Yung-tai.

High-resolution scans are a typical manner for artists, galleries and museums to monetize artworks of their possession by issuing digital copies, with out having to promote the unique whereas catering to a wider, much less prosperous shopper market.

According to the museum’s web site, every scanned picture may price between US$98 and US$850, relying on the decision.

An examination by CNN discovered quite a few sellers on Taobao promoting “high-resolution digital images” from the museum, with costs starting from simply 20 cents to $1.50.

CNN has reached out to Alibaba, the Chinese conglomerate that owns Taobao, for remark.

In its assertion, the National Palace Museum stated they first recognized the leak in June final yr and it launched an investigation into the matter two months later.

The results of that investigation discovered a employees member who was tasked with shrinking file sizes of scans had transferred among the artworks from the museum’s server in a bid to expedite the method.

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But the personal server was hacked, the museum stated.

“This rendered it possible for people not related to the museum to fetch the images in part before combining them to get the full version,” the museum defined, including that the worker obtained a warning.

It is the second scandal the museum has confronted in 5 months.

In November, its director confronted calls to step down after it was revealed to have damaged three treasured Ming and Qing dynasty artefacts, reportedly value US$81 million in whole.

The National Palace Museum’s assortment is a serious bone of rivalry between Taiwan and China.

Many of its greatest recognized items have been taken from the Chinese mainland to Taiwan by the Kuomintang Nationalists as they misplaced a civil warfare to Mao Zedong’s Communists in 1949.

Much of its huge assortment of artifacts have been as soon as housed on the Palace Museum in Beijing’s Forbidden City – treasures which have already survived two wars.

China’s Communist Party, which claims democratic Taiwan regardless of having by no means dominated it, has longed for the return of the artifacts held within the museum, in addition to many priceless antiquities that have been looted over the many years by colonial powers.

As tensions between Taipei and Beijing run excessive, Wu Mi-cha, the museum’s then director, advised the CNN final yr that he had been coaching its employees on easy methods to evacuate the island’s most prized relics within the occasion of warfare.