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04/09 (Thu)

09:00 - 17:00

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A Brief Journey through Tainanfu, Lugang, and Bangkah

Taiwan has been an important stronghold in the Pacific Ocean since the Age of Discovery. Tainanfu, Lugang, and Bangkah were three critical commercial port cities that played a crucial role in the trading history of Taiwan. These three cities witnessed Taiwan’s involvement in the international trade zone and symbolized its busy business activities starting in the seventeenth century. This article investigates records created by a Qing official Shen Bao-zhen, the Hsu family enterprise in Lugang, and the Chen family enterprise in Nagasaki to illustrate the rich history of these three port cities.

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Reminisce the Century-old Stores Lin-fu-zhen Store and Qian-yuan Pharmacy on Dihua Street
Reminisce the Century-old Stores Lin-fu-zhen Store and Qian-yuan Pharmacy on Dihua Street

The first image of Dihua Street in Da-tong district, Taipei is an old street full of Chinese medicine shops, dried goods stores and fabric stores. Reminiscing the development of Dihua Street, it is located in an area called “Dadaocheng” which became a street in 19th Century. Foreign companies came to Tamsui and built their career after Tamsui Customs Wharf was established in 1860. The trading of tea activated the commercial developments in Dadaocheng area. In the end of the 19th Century, Dadaocheng became the trading hub in northern Taiwan. In the Japanese colonial period, comparing to the inner part of Taipei city where Japanese settled in, Dadaocheng, located outside the city, was an important spot where Taiwanese wholesaling groceries gathered. In the end of the 20th century, the once prosperous Dadaocheng gradually declined because the economic activities in Taipei city shifted eastward bit by bit as the city continued to develop. Through the dilemma between urban renewal and historical sites protection, Dihua Street, the core of Dadaocheng, has retrieved its historical ambiance by launching monument protection projects and establishing cultural activities sites. Although much has changed in the past hundred years, several old stores have withstood the test of time. In 2013, the Traveling in Time ExhibitionThe Chen Family’s Tai-yi-hou in Nagasaki, showcased the commercial letters between Japan and Taiwan. Through reading the correspondence, we are able to trace the commercial trading clues which were left by the century-old stores on Dihua Street of Dadaocheng.


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