07/18 (Thu)

Opening Hours 9:00-17:00

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.

III. Chen Cheng-po’s Tamsui Paintings and the Taiyang Arts Council

Chen Cheng-po was born in Chiayi in 1895. While studying at the National Language School (Kokugo School) of the Taiwan Government General, he was greatly influenced by his mentor Kinichiro Ishikawa and became determined to pursue an artistic career. In 1924, he quit his schoolteacher job in Taiwan and entered the Tokyo Art School at the age of 30. His oil painting, Outside the Chiayi Street, was selected for the 7th Exhibition of the Imperial Fine Arts Academy in 1926; he was the first Taiwanese painter to earn this honor. After finishing his graduate school degree at the Tokyo Art School, Chen Cheng-po decided to teach western painting in Shanghai. In 1932, the January 28 incident broke out and the situation became unstable; Chen Cheng-po and his family went back to Taiwan the next year.

In 1934, Chen Cheng-po (1895-1947), Liao Ji-chun (1902-1976), Yen Shui-long (1903-1997), and Lee Mei-shu (1902-1983) collectively founded the Taiyang Arts Council, the biggest civil painting organization in Taiwan, and routinely held exhibitions. In order to feature exhibitions and handle administrative works, Chen Cheng-po went to Taipei several times and met other painters such as Yang San-lang (1907-1995). During his trips to Taipei, Chen Cheng-po also went sketching in Tamsui with friends. He left many sketches (see Figure 13-14) and at least 10 oil paintings of different sizes. The Tamsui series paintings were mainly drawn from 1935 to 1936. During these two years, his paintings Tamkang Scenery and The Route which depict the Tamsui landscape were included in the Taiwan Fine Arts Exhibition.

Figure 13: Sketch of Tamsui (18), painted by Chen Cheng-po, 1934.
Source: Identifier: CCP_05_SB18, Chen Cheng-po Painting and Papers, Taiwan Archival Information System

Figure 14: Sketch of Tamsui (20), painted by Chen Cheng-po, 1935.
Source: Identifier: CCP_05_SB20, Chen Cheng-po Painting and Papers, Taiwan Archival Information System

Sunset in Tamsui, painted in 1935, represents the river bank of Tamsui and features of the town with the sun disappearing below the horizon (see Figure 15). Chen Cheng-po made a breakthrough when he broke with the convention of regular composition, which put the architecture on the left and the river on the right. In the right side of Sunset in Tamsui, red tiles are layered irregularly and the spire roof of the Tamsui Church is clear to see. In the left side, the broad river reflects the evening sunshine and flows to the distant estuary. Chen Cheng-po’s distinguished composition and vibrant colors interpret Tamsui’s natural and cultural landscape (see Figure 16)

Figure 15: Sunset in Tamsui, painted by Chen Cheng-po, 1935.
Source: Identifier: CCP_01_03021_OCT1_35, Chen Cheng-po Painting and Papers, Taiwan Archival Information System

Figure 16: Photograph of Tamsui.
Source: Identifier: T020301_01_1507,
Michael H.Finegan Collection, Taiwan Archival Information System

Painted in 1936, Hill (Tamkang High School) (see Figure 17) was selected for the 10th Taiwan Fine Arts Exhibition. This oil painting depicts rural scenery and Tamkang High School, established by the Presbyterian Church in 1914 and taken by the colonial government in 1936 as part of the assimilation policy. In the painting, rural fields and zigzag paths sweep around the hill. The architecture located on the hill is Tamkang high school. The strokes in this painting are rhythmic. Scattered people and egrets decorate the picture, making this rural image lively.


Figure 17: Hill, painted by Chen Cheng-po, 1936.
Source: Identifier: CCP_01_03025_OCT1_08,
Chen Cheng-po Painting and Papers, Taiwan Archival Information System

An interview published on Taiwan New People Newspaper in 1936 reviewed Chen Cheng-po's observation of Tamsui: "Mr. Chen Cheng-po visits Tamsui every year. He accumulates abundant experiences around the Tamsui scenery. This year he also spent several months in Tamsui sketching and researching the landscape. He thinks Tamsui’s central feature is its historic and time-honored buildings. He suggests that painters sketch Tamsui after a rain or on overcast days. Tamsui’s scenery becomes prettier then because the humidity makes roof, wall, and tree colors richer."

In 1941, western-style painters (Chen Cheng-po, Lee Mei-shu, and Yang San-lang) and Japanese-style painters (Lin-Yu shan, Chen Jing-hui, Kuo Hsueh-hu) collectively sketched a junk sailing in front of Guanyin Mountain (see Figure18). In the beginning, Taiwan Fine Arts Exhibition only had a western-style painting section. A Japanese-style painting section was later founded in 1940 and included new members such as Lin Yu-shan, Chen Jin, Kuo Hsueh-hu, Lu Tie-zhou, Chen Jing-hui, and Murakami Mura. This collection of artwork witnessed the expansion of the Taiyang Arts Council.

Figure 18: Collective Sketch of Tamsui, painted by Chen Cheng-po, Lee Mei-shu, Lin Yu-shan, Yang San-lang, Chen Jing-hui, Kuo Hsueh-hu, 1941.
Source: Identifier: CCP_02_02004_IWP1_10, Chen Cheng-po Painting and Papers, Taiwan Archival Information System

11F., South Wing, Building for Humanities and Social Sciences, 128, Sec. 2, Academia Rd., Nangang Dist., Taipei City 11529,
Taiwan Tel: +886-2-2652-5181 Fax: +886-2-2652-5184 【Contact us
Copyright © 2010 Institute of Taiwan History, Academia Sinica. All Rights Reserved