Tamsui Scenery (2)
畫布油彩 Oil on canvas
私人收藏 Private collection
At the foot of the hill lifting his head to look up, one peculiar building with a ninety degree extension blocked Chen Cheng-po’s line of sight. One foreign building with a row of arches along the veranda has an eye-catching expanse of white in the midst of the surrounding community of local buildings. At first sight it appears there is something unexpected. However upon closer examination, the red roof tiles and wall bricks of the houses really only exhibit strong local characteristics. The Western and Chinese buildings are well matched; the scene mixes the foreign and local. This painting seems to epitomize the history of this town projecting the different cultures meeting and merging in Tamsui.
1. 白樓 White House
White House was completed at the end of the 19th century and was the house of Yan Qinghua, the premier student of George L. Mackay. He engaged at that time the most famous builder in Tamsui, Hong Zaiquan, to oversee the construction; he built this peculiar building mixing Chinese and Western cultural elements. After WWII, White House changed hands may times, and finally in 1992 it was reconstructed. Today one can still see the remains of part of the outer wall.
引用自臺北達觀數位攝影藝術空間 DGVAS 對Life Magazine中Jack Birns攝影作品的數位重製
Sourced from Taipei Daguan Digital Photography Artistic Space; DGVAS digitally reproduces the photographs of Life Magazine’s Jack Birns.
2. 木下靜涯故居 Kinoshita Seigai's Former Residence
Japanese painter Kinoshita Seigai started in 1918 to make paintings in various locations in Taiwan. Later because he was infatuated by the scenery of Tamsui, he rented long term this small house with an unobscured line of sight and buried himself in his painting. Gradually he obtained some accomplishment in painting. He participated in establishing the first painting exhibition in Taiwan. It became an important stage for later artists like Chen Cheng-po and others.
3. 庇 Hisashi
The “hisashi” (or “kiriyoke”) extending out from the eaves is a rather eye-catching feature of Kinoshita Seigai’s Former Residence; it is also represented in the works of many painters. The “hisashi” is commonly seen in Japanese buildings. This structure besides being able to block wind, rain and sunlight at the same time can also create layered changes to the house’s exterior appearance.
Upper: Najima Mitsugu, Mid-autumn Tamsui Scenery, 1932 (The 6th Taiwan Art Exhibition)
Bottom: Asahara Kiyotaka, Taiwan Scenery, 1939.
In both pictures of Kinoshita Seigai’s Former Residence, the artist notices the “hisashi” extending out from the eaves and depicts the structure.
Upper: Elevation drawing of a "hisashi" under the eaves at the entrance.
Bottom: Elevation picture of the "hisashi " under the eaves.
The “hisashi” of Japanese buildings is sourced from Taipei County County Historical Site Tamsui Street Former Residences Renovation or Reuse Plans), p. 124.
4. 牛眼窗 Bull's-eye Window
In the humid climate of Tamsui, regardless of local houses or foreign houses, the buildings often place a window at the top of the side gable in order to promote air circulation inside. The gable of White House has a round Bull’s -eye window. The round window is seen in Japanese era imitation baroque buildings. Beside air circulation and ambient lighting, the angular edges on the wall has a decorative effect.
In Tamsui with a humid climate, all buildings at the top of the wall installed windows.
Bottom: Taiwan Governor General Ministry of Communication Railway Department, ed., Scenery ofTaiwan, 1939.
老照片裡的白樓與山牆頂上的圓窗。(攝影師Jack Birns刊登於Life Magazine的攝影作品)
An old photograph of White House and the round window at the top of the gable. (The photographic work of photographer Jack Birns published in Life Magazine.)
Tamsui Scenery by Wu Dong-cai shows the obvious difference between the round window at the top of the wall of White House and the square windows at the top of the wall of ordinary residences.
5. 門聯 Door couplets
Door couplets are a cultural feature of Chinese society. It is a custom to put up writing on the entrance door to attract good fortune. It originated in “Peach Wood Charms”; these were charms made of peach wood to counteract evil. In the time of Chen Cheng-po, although the Japanese government encouraged abolishing the Lunar New Year, it still acquiesced to a few local cultural traditions, of which the door couplets in the painting are an example.
6. 畫框之外 Outside the frame of the painting
In the time of Chen Cheng-po’s youth, he in the company of his painter friends would go to various places to travel and to paint. The painting below, “Midsummer Tamsui”, by Yang San-lang was selected in 1935 for the Taiwan Art Exhibition. The features in the scene in the painting are similar to Chen Cheng-po’s work. The two artists probably arranged to paint at the same place and complete their own individual works.