Tamsui After Rain
畫布油彩 Oil on canvas
私人收藏 Private collection
Under the dense cloud cover of the Pacific Ocean war, Tamsui after rain seems to be enveloped in a layer of haze from the warfare. Although the big red character “Blessing (祝)” on the banner set off on a campaign is eye-catching, the sparse number of people in the formation seems to lack the same joyful atmosphere. The entourage following Jiukan Street turning up is in Tamsui’s old neighborhood; this kind of nostalgic place is perhaps more suitable for a parade bidding adieu to one’s hometown. Watching the procession of people leave, Chen Cheng-po silently outlines the shadow of the times and leaves his witness to history.
1. 壯行會Fare-well Party
During WWII men were either conscripted or volunteered to join the military, but before going to the battlefield the local government usually mobilized the public, students and various organs and groups to hold a boisterous fare-well party for them. In the painting all the people in the procession are holding the national flag in their hands; they are just about to proceed into Jiukan Street to publicize the glory of the soldiers going to war.
2. 出征旗Banner set off on a campaign
In order to make going on campaign a glorious affair, the ceremony of bidding adieu often set up this kind of big banner; the banner had the Japanese national flag, Hinomaru (The Sun), or the pattern of the rising sun representing the Japanese military painted on it along with the name of the one going on campaign written on it. Holding the banner up high besides wishing the soldier martial glory, also was actually a kind of propaganda move for wartime mobilization.
3. 九崁街Jiukan Street
Jiukan Street in back of Fuyou Temple was a street of commercial shops formed at the end of the 18th century. Since the space on the river bank was relatively narrow and the Tamsui population continued to increase, this street followed up the slope to Qizaiding to extend the residential space and develop the scale of the town.
4. 磚拱Brick Arch
In order to accommodate the topographical changes of Tamsui’s hillsides, one house of Jiukan Street used brick arch construction to make the foundation of a platform connecting to the entrance of the building above. Two eye-catching brick arches still exist today on Jiukan Street. Although the direction depicted in this painting is not the same, the style is more or less the same.
5. 福佑宮Fuyou Temple
The “swallowtails” that stick up at either end of the roof ridge are commonly used in the construction of temples in Taiwan. If you consult the relative position of Jiukan Street, you can conjecture that the building is the Fuyou Temple along the riverbank in Tamsui. Fuyou Temple devoted mainly to the worship of Mazu was constructed in 1782. The temple was the common site of worship for the early immigrants coming to Tamsui from Fujian and Guangdong.
The shops along Tamsui’s streets usually had a long narrow layout. The shop facing the main street used the rooftop attic as a warehouse and the rear area was connected with the shopkeeper’s family. The towns near many of the harbors in Taiwan, such as Lugang, Anping, etc. all had this kind of long-style of shops.
Chen Cheng-po’s 1933 painting “Old Market Street in Lugang” . The shops on both sides all have the same long narrow style with a long room layout.