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Taipei Division of Cultural Heritage opens new office on Bo Pi Liao Street

By Eva Tang

Hsieh Hsiao-yun, Commissioner of the Department of Cultural Affairs unveils the office signboard of Taipei Division of Cultural Heritage with other conferees. (Photos by Eva Tang)Thirty civil servants of the Taipei Division of Cultural Heritage moved into its preparatory office on Bo Pi Liao Street of the Wanhua area on April 6 with what is probably the warmest sunlight of the week.

“Taipei is the most culturally rich city in Taiwan; we have more than 300 listed historical sites, relics, and architecture,” said Hsieh Hsiao-yun, Commissioner of Taipei City's Department of Cultural Affairs.

Taipei Division of Cultural Heritage is the fourth local government cultural heritage unit, after those of Taichung, Tainan and Kaohsiung.

Chang Chieh-kuan looks at his work with delight. (Photos by Eva Tang)“We have transformed the second division in our department into one fully focused on cultural heritage affairs in accordance with the eleventh article of the Cultural Heritage Preservation Act,” Hsieh added.

The Eleventh Article of the 2005 Act says “the competent authority may establish special agencies to be responsible for the preservation, education, promotion and research of cultural heritage.”

The new office on Bo Pi Liao has a reception room, a conference room, a library, division chief’s office and some administrative space, all in a style that is distinctly different from the Taipei City Government building.

The mirror reflection of the plaque on the second floor in the office. (Photos by Eva Tang)Furthermore, the office signboard itself is a noteworthy story since it is made by Ri Xing Type Foundry, possibly the last and only foundry with a collection of 150,000 copper molds of traditional Chinese character matrixes.

The 10 characters on the plaque are presented in calligraphic font ‘Kaishu’, a well-developed style of calligraphy that goes back to around 2,000 years ago. Kaishu types vary from Kaishu fonts found in computers in that every stroke is slightly different if two characters share the same radical. In computerized fonts, there may just be two or three choices of the radical for all of the characters.

To make the plaque, Chang Chieh-kuan, the owner of Ri Xing worked 16-hour days in order to finish them before the opening date. Research was done on how to generate the typeface before the carving, which took one day per character.

“I am pleased to see that they have a prominent place in the division,” said Chang.