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Exhibition explores the strong bonds between mountains and aborigines

 
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Photo by LRM
Chen Yu-hsin (center), Deputy Commissioner of Taipei City’s Department of Cultural Affairs, announces the kickoff of the special exhibition, “Memory of the Mountain and Forest:
An Island of Woven Memories.”

By Yali Chen

A special exhibition explores the history of Taiwan’s pristine forests and the relationship between Taiwan’s mountains and indigenous peoples.
 
“Memory of the Mountain and Forest: An Island of Woven Memories,” at the historic Mitsui Warehouse shows how the expansion of the Guardline and the Dabao tribe incident in northern Taiwan had a lasting impact on the lives of the indigenous peoples.
 
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Photo by LRM
The curator Wu Szu-ju guides visitors through the special exhibition.
 
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Photo by LRM
Viewers attend the exhibition at the historic Mitsui Warehouse. 

Viewers can better understand the economic development of camphor, tea, and wood harvests during the period of Japanese rule from 1895 to 1945. The exhibition also features the weaving art of the Atayal in Taiwan.
 
Built by Mitsui Co. in the early 20th century, the Mitsui Warehouse has been transformed into the “House of Memories” after two years of restoration, said Chen Yu-hsin, Deputy Commissioner of Taipei City’s Department of Cultural Affairs.
 
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Photo by LRM
A model of the Atayal traditional barn and three bamboo water bottles.

In 1896, the Mitsui Group signed a land lease with the Japanese government to develop the mountain and forest resources in Taiwan, such as camphor, wood and tea. The company controlled the tea farms in northern Taiwan in 1909 and later launched the “Nittoh Black Tea” brand and sold it around the world.
 
The Expansion of the Guardline is the focus of this year’s exhibition. The Japanese government adopted the Lifan policy (indigenous administration) from the Qing Dynasty to control the indigenous peoples living in the mountains. They aggressively expanded the Guardline so they could harvest camphor, and engage in logging and land reclamation.
 
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Photo by LRM
One exhibit explains the expansion of the Guardline from 1897 through 1917.
 
The curator Wu Szu-ju used a big model of mountain areas in northern Taiwan and boundary lines to show the expansion of the Guardline from 1897 through 1917. The model guides visitors to understand the history of forest exploitation from the Qing Dynasty to Japanese rule and its impact on the indigenous peoples.
 
The expansion caused many conflicts with the ingenious peoples. For example, the Atayal Dabao tribe was almost eliminated as the Dabao tribe incident took place in the mountains of Sanxia. After the incident, they were forced to move to Xiayun, Jiaobanshan and Wulai.