Landscape Sketch (115)-SB18: 34
紙本鋼筆Pen on paper
A long time has slipped by like the river; the mast sticking out on the river and the wire pole look like coordinates marked with antiquity and modernity, respectively. The sandbar in the middle of the river is also a metaphor for time—fine grains of sand accumulating and then dissolving in the racing currents of the long river. Reclining on the opposite shore, Guanyin Mountain is the heavier and deeper accumulation of time; the ridge of the mountain against the sky is depicted with twists and turns in hundreds of thousands of years…. What Chen Cheng-po delineated gently on his sketchbook is a narrative of time as well as a riverscape at Tamsui.
1. 稅關監視部 The Inspection Branch of the Customs Office
The two-floor structure with a row of arches on the outer wall is the Inspection Branch of Tamsui Customs Office. In the Japanese rule period, as Tamsui was still a harbor for foreign steamships to berth, it was necessary to establish a customs office to manage related affairs. The Inspection Branch of the Customs Office was in charge of checking goods, ships, and people coming and going at the harbor.
2. 郵便局 The Post Office
Completed in 1917, the Post Office showing part of its rooftop is renowned for its elegant style of Victorian architecture. While the cultural heritage of Tamsui is extremely complex, this building permeated with the European flavor and mood is another example of exotic transformation. It is a pity that the Post Office was destroyed by fire in 1969 and left its fascinating looks only in the old photographs.
3. 觀音山 Guanyin Mountain
Although the elevation of Guanyin Mountain is not prominent, the topographical features of this conical volcano are perfect. As there are no nearby hilltops to compete for supremacy, Guanyin Mountain has its own majestic quality. In the Japanese rule period, Guanyin Mountain was a favorite haunt of mountain-climbers. In 1926, a group of Japanese residents in Taiwan organized the Taiwan Mountaineering Society and chose Guanyin Mountain as their first goal of mountain climbing.
4. 占山 Chan Shan
The hilltop that swells up to the left of Guanyin Mountain must be Chien Shan (i.e. the Sharp Summit), 380 meters in elevation. Probably due to the similar pronunciation in Taiwanese language, Chien Shan is also called Chan Shan. Located between Chien Shan and Guanyin Mountain is the Northern-Cross Ancient Path. Formerly a mountain road connecting Wuku and Pali, the Northern-Cross Ancient Path is now a popular route taken by excursionists.
5. 八里坌 Pat-lí-hun
On the opposite shore, Pat-lí-hun (now Pali Township, or called Parrigon), has been inhabited by aboriginal tribes in compact communities since seven thousand years ago. In the early 18th century, Han tribes immigrated into Pat-lí-hun one after another, and consequently, Pat-lí-hun was transformed into a prosperous trading port. In the 19th century, a heavy accumulation of sand on the south bank of the Tamsui River estuary gradually damaged the shipping function; therefore, the role of Pat-lí-hun as a port was replaced by Hobe on the opposite shore.
6. 桅杆 Masts
Popping out from behind the house, the mast of the sailboat is also depicted in other Tamsui landscape paintings by Chen Cheng-po; it is evident that he paid close attention to such a distinguishing feature on the landscape. However, since the mechanical engine became a common device on civilian boats, sailboats have gradually exited from the river. In the late 1960s, rarely was the view of erect masts seen along the Tamsui River.
Wada Sanzo, Tamsui Landscape, 1931 (Reviewless at the Fifth Taiwan Fine Arts Exhibition)
Haebaru Choukou, Tamsui Landscape, 1933 (at the Seventh Taiwan Fine Arts Exhibition)
Takenaka Masayoshi, Tamsui Landscape, 1936 (Reviewless at the Tenth Taiwan Fine Arts Exhibition)
Lu Chun-yuan, Tamsui Landscape, 1936 (Reviewless at the Tenth Taiwan Fine Arts Exhibition)