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United in Art— Artist Groups and Their Network of Activities during the Japanese Colonial Period

A digital collection of archival documents has been in development over the recent years under the auspices of the Archives of Institute of Taiwan History, Academia Sinica. It includes the profiles of such artists from the preceding generations as Chen Cheng-Po, Yen Hsuei-Long, Chen Chih-Chi, Pu Tian-Sheng, Liu Chi-Hsiang, Kuo Hsueh-Hu in addition to papers of the nature of cultural patronage from Yang Zhao-Jia as well as private collections of works of calligraphy and painting and other historical materials. This article focuses on the activities of important artist groups that Taiwanese painters helped to create during the first half of the 20th century. Through selected private manuscripts, letters and documents, images, newspapers and magazines housed in the Archives, the exploration of interactions between various parties in the history of modern art - including individual artists, the painting groups and their patrons - reveals how the arts and society developing in parallel and prospering in unison!

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Real Battles - the Confrontation of the Disbanded Militias and Guerrilla

After the Japanese went into Taipei city without a fight in the beginning of June, they advanced south on Yangmei and Hsinchu. The Japanese met a stubborn resistance from the Taiwanese militias fighting with “kitchen knives on bamboo sticks.” The battles occurred constantly. In August, in the Baguashan battle where the militias led by Wu Tang-hsing and Hsu Hsiang and the Black Flag Army led by Wu Peng-nien confronted the Japanese, was the largest battle in 1895. In October, when the Japanese besieged Tainan from three ways, Lin Kun-gang led the militias to fight back. However, after he ran into an ambush at Chugaoshan, he suicided with knife. Without reinforcements, the Taiwanese militias failed to defeat the Japanese. However, the Japanese leader, Prince Yoshihisa, was killed at battle field and failed to accomplish the mission of takeover, which vividly revealed how the militias and yeomanry bravely resisted the Japanese in battles.

Handbook of Davidson, 1895
Handbook of Davidson, 1895
Source:James Wheeler Davidson Family fonds, University of Calgary, Archives and Special Collections
On the cover of Davidson’s leather handbook was painted the different situations, such as the different flag between Unite States and Japan; different appearance and momentum between Qing and Japanese militaries. Except word records, he hand-painted some figures during the interview with Japanese.
Baguashan Confrontation in 1895 painted by Kimura Shuusuke
Baguashan Confrontation in 1895 painted by Kimura Shuusuke
Source:郭双富庋藏, Digital archives of the Archives of Institute of Taiwan History
This painting is portrayed in the landscape painting style. It shows the confronting situation between the Taiwanese militias and the Imperial Guards Division at the south and the north sides of the Dadu River respectively. On 26 August, Prince Yoshihisa arrived at Dadu riverbank to inspect by himself. When he looked through his telescope at defense of Baguashan, he was found by a guard of Taiwanese militias. They bombarded immediately the mountain top of Baguashan, and an artillery projectile made a hit beside Prince Yoshihisa.
Southern Campaign attacking Tainan in 1895
Southern Campaign attacking Tainan in 1895
Source:Provide by Prof. Yang, Rur-bin
Later Marshal H. I. H. Prince Fushimi Sadanaru led troops to attack Xuejia whereas Lin Kun-gang led the militias to defend. The war situation was urgent, so in addition to ask Liu Yung-fu for reinforcements, Lin recruited yeomanry to join the battle. The two armies had a fierce fight at Chugaoshan.
Zhon Shen Temple in Xuejia District, Tainan
Zhon Shen Temple in Xuejia District, Tainan
Source:Take picture by Director Hsieh, Kuo-hsing
After Lin Kun-gan passed away, he was deification and villagers established a shrine in 1950s. In 1979, they extend the shrine, and worshiped Zhon Shen Gong. After 1988, the shrine rebuilt as the “Zhon Shen Temple”.
Figure of General Liu Arrested and Decapitated Governor-General Kabayama
Figure of General Liu Arrested and Decapitated Governor-General Kabayama
Source:《The Island of Formosa Past and Present》(James W. Davidson著, Macmillan & Company, London and New York; Kelly & Walsh Ltd., Yokohama, Shanghai, Hong Kong, and Singapore, 1903年出版), Archives of National Museum of Taiwan History
This figure was taken on the book of Davidson, which described the Governor-General, Kabayama Sukenori, was arrested and decapitated by Liu Yung-fu and Lin Chao-dong. Contents of this chart didn’t real happened, but express author’s expectation and aspiration of victory.

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