Tamsui Beach-SB18: 34.11.29
紙本鉛筆Pencil on paper
On a winter day at Hobe, Chen Cheng-po breathed the icy cold air when the gusty north winds hit the Tamsui River estuary. With a pencil rising up and down like waves, for one flashing instant, he completed the landscape sketch with simple lines—a fog shrouding the mountainside in a thin shadow, and the tide surging silently over the riverbank and the footprints of travelers. A lonely figure stands on the beach, looking silently at the Tamsui River and Guanyin Mountain without the glow of the sunset.
In winter, few people will come to the seaside at Tamsui. If a painter visits the bathing beach in summer, his sketch is presumably bustling with activity—children treading soft mud of the estuary and playing in the warm waters. At a nearby eating house, the adults, leisurely and carefree, sit eating watermelon and looking far into the distant mountain, the broad river, and the sunset.1 A group of high-school students jump audaciously into the waves, as if to catch the sailboat on the river. If it was a Wednesday afternoon, Chen Cheng-po might bump into Tu Tsung-ming, a Doctor of Medicine from Tamsui Town, who used to bring his daughter to play in the waters, pick up clams, and return home with a bag of clams to make soup….2
After 1903, the facilities of Tamsui Bathing Beach were constructed one after another.3 In summer, large crowds of Taipei citizens would travel to Tamsui, mainly to enjoy the refreshing pleasure and beautiful scenery at the beach. Besides, institutions, schools, and private organizations liked to hold activities here, such as excursion and short-term instruction or training. During the Mid-autumn Festival, there were special “Moon-watching Trains” carrying tourists to Tamsui to stroll on the beach and watch the moon.4
Since the post-war period, the government’s establishment of coast defense has forced Tamsui Bathing Beach to close. In addition, with the urban development of Taipei, the Tamsui River has become foul. Fewer and fewer people will walk into the picturesque scene depicted by Chen Cheng-po, to allow the river surge over their feet.