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Feature Story

Dream Walk through Xicheng: Special Exhibition Unveiling a Century of Stories in Taipei

 “West Taipei” refers to the western part of Taiwan City, specifically the Wanhua District, which was the earliest part of the Taipei Basin to be developed. The “Dream! Walking in West Taipei” special exhibition is split into six exhibition areas, “Riverside Taipei,” “Twentieth Century Taipei,” “The River of Memory,” “Reading West Taipei,” “Images of Taipei City,” and “Return to Glory,” the last of which is scheduled to open on May 25, 2018. The whole exhibition, interwoven with images of the Danshui River, reveals the rich history behind West Taipei through historical documents and exhibitions of cultural relics. From the district’s early days as Bangka under the Qing Dynasty, through its integration into the wider city during Japanese rule and the rise of Nishimoncho (today’s Ximending), to the post-war development of Zhonghua Market, and finally to the residential planning of the modern West Taipei, we see the district’s entire recent history unfold.

 Curated by the Taipei City Archives, the exhibition looks at this unfolding history from the perspective of the rise and fall of river transportation. In over 100 years, West Taipei has been witness to many tales: trade rising and falling, industries transforming, and political power transitioning. Stepping into the “Riverside Taipei” area, visitors will see an important national historical relic, the earliest Kangxi-era map of Taiwan. Also on show are a map of Northern Taiwan from the Sino-French War, and the first grant for land development in western Taipei, the 1709 Tân Lōa Chiong Land Grant. The exhibition area also showcases the changes in the lifestyle of the citizens. When the Japanese era began, it brought with it a taste for the Japanese interpretation of Western style, with men and women alike beginning to lead more fashionable Western lives. From the Japanese-era sake and wine advertisements on show, visitors can see how modern entertainment and consumer culture evolved.

Memories of Old Taipei
Many long-time Taipei residents recall Zhonghua Market, located near Ximending, which was once home to intense business competition and festooned with neon signs. Come the evening, the brightly colored signs made for a vibrant nighttime scene. In the “Twentieth Century Taipei” area, visitors will find a selection of photographs of Zhonghua Market, leading them into this vibrant period of Taipei’s history. The area also has on display some classic clocks from the 1930s, part of the Taipei City Archives’ collection, along with audio recordings provided by Principal Lin Benbo, leading visitors back in time through the consumer and entertainment culture of old Ximending.

The Story of Bangka
Situated at the confluence of the Dahan and Xindian Rivers, tributaries of the Danshui River, the Wanhua District's ease of access by water made it a thriving trade hub. Through the exhibition area “The River of Memory,” visitors can cruise back in time along the Danshui River, taking a look at the human impact of the river through 10 tales of fortunes tied with those of West Taipei. In this area, Hong Yinan’s “Molan” is on display; Hong was born in Qing-era Bangka, and his poetry and calligraphy were widely renowned during that time. He was the soul of one of Taiwan’s three major poetry societies, the Ying Society, and today his masterworks are precious parts of the Taipei City Archives’ collection. Original parts of Bangka’s Longshan Temple are also on display, retained by the temple in September 2014. Through them, visitors can get a better understanding of the original structure of the temple and of its intimate relationship with the people and development of West Taipei.

 This exhibition runs from December 1, 2017, through October 31, 2018, and will open at Taipei’s Bopiliao Historical Block at Nos. 33-39, Lane 173, Kangding St., with exhibitions opening at Nos. 129 and 131 Guangzhou Street in 2018. Opening hours are 10:00 am to 5:00 pm, with the exhibition closed on Mondays. In addition to the exciting and vibrant exhibits, the Taipei City Archives have also organized a series of innovative and educational events, the first of which will be the December 9, 2017, “Old Bangka Walking Tour.” On this walking tour, visitors will be guided through West Taipei, getting an insight into the history and development of the district from the distinctively local perspective of the tour’s guides. All those who are interested are welcome to take part! For event and registration information, please see the Taipei City Archives website at http://www.chr.gov.taipei, email pearl@archicake.com.tw, or visit the Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/dwiwt2017/.

  • Hit: 20
  • Updated: 2018/1/7 08:51
  • Reviewed: 2018/1/7 08:51

  • Source: The Taipei City Department of Cultural Affairs
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