畫布油彩Oil on canvas
私人收藏 Private collection
A tall tower of an unusual style stands in command in the distance. Below the tower a large swath of farmland spreads out following along the hillside; a lush green flows into each corner. The horizontal lines of the field banks, road and tree crowns are like the rising and falling of a musical staff; the egrets in the fields and the electric poles also are in harmony with the melody; the horizontal composition jumps and pulses delightful variations. Like a great composer, Chen Cheng-po briskly dances the colorful brushes in his hands over the canvas to compose a beautiful and lively symphony of the rural scene on the hill.
1. 淡水中學校 Tamsui Middle School
The Tamsui Middle School is now known as Tamkang High School; it was the first middle school in northern Taiwan provided for students of Taiwanese ancestry to study at. This school was established in 1914 by George William Mackay, son of the well-known missionary Dr. George Lesley Mackay. The religious background of the school made the way the school was run quite different from others. The first rugby team and choir in Taiwan both originated in the campus of the Tamsui Middle School.
2. 八角塔 Octagonal tower
The Canadian missionary Kenneth W. Dowie designed the octagonal tower with the concept of a western tower building yet boldly blended it with the cultural elements of a Chinese pagoda and San-Ho-Yuan building. The tower was completed in 1925 and was a newly constructed school building of Tamsui Middle School after funds were raised for it. The octagonal tower with its unusual style later became the most representative historical totem of the school.
3. 衛塔 Guard tower
The guard tower in the castles of Medieval Europe principally was developed for its defensive function. Later it was imported into modern architecture. A guard tower placed in a corner besides increasing the building’s up and down contours also was able to serve as a foil to the main building’s impressive grandeur. In Taiwan a few baroque style buildings erected during the Japanese Colonial Period also display this guard tower design.
4. 電線桿 Electric poles
Electric poles were for Chen Cheng-po a kind of artistic subject that he concentrated on and was fascinated by. From the point of view of a Taiwanese painter in Japanese Colonial Period, the island’s scenery in the tide of modernization was in the process of rapid change; this impact upon their vision also was reflected in their creativity. Modern things like steel bridges, roads, and so forth often became the main subject or element of a landscape picture.
5. 白鷺鷥與農田 White egrets and farmland
The white egrets on the paddy banks are using their long pointed black beaks to peck up insects in the paddies to eat. The white egret is a kind of resident bird that likes to stick together. They generally appear in the farmlands of the different locales around Taiwan. Various local artistic creations frequently take the white egret as subject matter using it to present a kind of nativist image or to link it to the author’s concern for nature.
6. 樹 Tree
The tree leaves that are bursting open like feathers are pulsing with a lustrous life force. In Chen Cheng-po’s paintings that take Taiwan’s local scenery as their subject matter, there often appears luxuriant vegetation. In his later paintings, he goes a step further for he comprehends from ink paintings the skill of using a stump and assimilates it into the depiction of the tree scene so as to express the exuberance and glory of the natural vegetation.
7. 點景人物：戴笠挑擔者 Staffage: One wearing a conical bamboo hat with a shoulder pole load
The worker wearing a conical bamboo hat and carrying a shoulder pole with a load is a type of staffage that is usually provided for in Chen Cheng-po’s paintings. The laboring people with steady hardworking dedication were constantly on the move in each corner of old Taiwan. Their forms, in the heart of this artist who has such a deeply native feeling, leave a very profound impression.
8. 道路 Road
Comparing the 1945 aerial photograph and the road which horizontally extends across the painting with farmland on both sides, it is likely the present day New Life Street. Chen Cheng-po’s Tamsui paintings usually depict a road from far to near using it to guide the line of sight and draw out in the distance a line of perspective. However, the road in this painting intends to cut through the picture which in terms of composition has an entirely different effect.