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Cultural exchange between China and Japan, friendly neighbors across a strip of sea, began in the third century BCE. On the 30th anniversary of the normalization of diplomatic relations between the People's Republic of China and Japan, the Palace Museum has selected some of the finest Japanese antiquities in its collection for display, in the hope that this would enhance mutual understanding of each nation's culture and art. The exhibition consists of 179 items in nine categories: books, paintings, porcelain, enamelware, metal objects, lacquer ware, embroidery, sculpture and furniture. Most of the objects are exquisite pieces dating from the Edo to the Meiji period (17th-19th century). Some were gifts exchanged by the imperial houses of the two countries; others were exotica acquired by the Qing royalty; still others were collected by the government or individuals after the 1949 liberation. The sheer variety of the collection demonstrates the close engagement of the two countries, politically and culturally, through the ages.