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Her History in Taiwan
The Archives of the Institute of Taiwan History (ITH) at Academia Sinica holds a wide variety of historical sources pertaining to women of Taiwan; these materials date back to the Qing dynasty and can be examined from three aspects— “Traditional Women,” “Transition of Fate,” and “Self Expression.” They illustrate how Taiwanese women emerged from traditional family to modern job market and social activities with activism and independence.The collections of marriage documents, contracts, photographs, diaries, and personal documents presented here are selected from the digital archives of the ITH.
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IV. Support for Culture and Cross-field Friendships

A crucial consideration regarding society’s support for culture and friendships across fields during Japanese colonial rule is the fact that painters tended to have a difficult time maintaining their livelihoods or keeping afloat a civil painting group. Accordingly, the support of local gentry and socially prominent figures - financially in the form of painting purchases or acting as intermediaries in social circles - was significant. Furthermore, notably from the second half of the 1920s onward, with growing numbers of Taiwanese painters taking a prominent part in the exhibitions of Tokyo and Paris and the resultant elevated reputation and stature of individual artists, the perception of artistic pursuits among intellectuals in society at large gradually shifted from the straightforward “art for art’s sake” to a recognition that the advancement of national movements was to a degree rooted in the fruits of cultural development and that the power of art was an integral part of cultural activities.

Sifting through reams of various historical materials of private nature such as manuscripts, diaries and photographs, it is clear that contemporary artists frequently sought opportunities of patronage through introduction to or group visits to such prominent individuals as Lin Xian-Tang and Yang Zhao-Jia; both Guo Hsueh-Hu and Lee Mei-Shu recollected in their manuscripts the assistance that Yang Zhao-Jia and Tsai Pei-Huo gave to the Tai-Yang Exhibitions; more social, industrial and cultural heavyweights who actively and financially supported Taiwan’s cultural activities and individual artists included Chou Ching-Tien who founded a printing shop in Dadaocheng, Wang Ching-Chuan who ran the Landscape Pavilion Restaurant/Shan Shui Ting, Chang Hsing-Chien of the Central Bookstore and Lu Pan-Shih and Lu Ling-Shih from Shengang Xiao-Yun Mansion. The Tai-Yang Art Association was one example of the beneficiaries of their work: as a civil group, its internal affairs large and small ranging from budgeting to preparations for events to personnel changes were all in the realm of joint decision-making and shared responsibility among members. Regular expenditures on printing and venues associated with the annually held Tai-Yang Exhibition, for instance, were in large part reliant on the financial support of art-loving individuals of wider society.

Lin Xian-Tang, a gentry from Wufeng, Taichung, was a central figure of the Taiwan Cultural Association and national movements from the 1920s. Despite his sinological education, he was sufficiently receptive to modern culture and thinking to become a major patron of new artistic movements in Taiwan during Japanese colonial rule. His extant diaries suggest that he frequently lent support to fresh young artists through visits to exhibitions, purchasing or commissioning paintings and financial donations to help get their nascent artistic careers on track.

 

 Figure 19: 6 May 1937, The Diary of Mr. Guan-Yuan
In the 1920-30s, Lin Xian-Tang was often invited to the solo exhibitions in Taichung of Chen Chih-Chi, Yang San-Lang, Kuo Hsueh-Hu, Li Shih-Chiao and others and bought the paintings out of his own purse. He also frequently accepted joint invitations by painters and paid visits to such exhibitions by painting groups as the Chidao Art Group Exhibition and the Tai-Yang Exhibition - to be complete with financial support. As Lin Xian-Tang recorded in his diary entry on 6 May 1937: “Sasaburo Yo, Chen Cheng-Po, Li Shih-Chiao, Hong Rui-Lin, Lee Mei-Shu, Chen Te-Wang, Hsu Sheng-Ji and Chang Hsing-Chien of the Tai-Yang Art Association came and invited me to go and see exhibition in the public hall on the 8th and asked for subsidies. I gave 50 yen”.

Yang Zhao-Jia, a gentry from Qingshui, Taichung, was not only active in the national movements during Japanese colonial rule but also one of the most potent backers of contemporary artistic movements. From his personal account in his memoir, it is known that besides political causes he rendered financial support and encouragement to such subjects as art, sculpture, music, songwriting, sports and medicine. Perhaps in the case of Yang Zhao-Jia, it was motivated by a desire to break the cultural monopoly by the Japanese and from an aspiration through concrete actions to help the Taiwanese develop their pride in cultural undertakings. From the documents and photographs associated with the numerous art exhibitions, painting groups and solo exhibitions found in his private collections, it is not difficult to deduce his great attention to the activities of contemporary Taiwanese painting groups.

 Figure 20: Articles of Association and Keynote of the Liu Yan Hui
Source: LJK_07_02_0110361, Yang Zhao-Jia Collection
One piece found in the collections of Yang Zhao-Jia is entitled “Articles of Association and Keynote of the Liu Yan Hui”. The Liu Yan Hui was launched by a group of six - Lu Tieh-Chou, Lin Jin-Hung, Kuo Hsueh-Hu, Chen Jing-Hui, Sasaburo Yo (Yang San-Lang) and Tsao Chiu-Pu - at the Zhao Ri Guild Hall in June 1935. Its members encompassed western painters, Japanese painters, calligraphers and art journalists, making it something of a comprehensive artist group. It promoted artistic creations by holding workshops and forums and made it its ultimate goal to raise money to build a museum tailored to the island of Taiwan.

Another enthusiastic promoter of various cultural activities was Chang Hsing-Chien of the Central Bookstore of Taichung who was the editor and creator of the magazine Taiwan Bungei of the Taiwan Literature and Art Alliance. As far as art was concerned, he not only organized workshops for western paintings and held painting exhibitions but also capitalized on his social network in central Taiwan to act as an intermediary for artists in search of opportunities of financial support for exhibitions and of painting purchases. An example of this would be his efforts to help Kuo Hsueh-Hu organize a solo exhibition in the Taichung Library and his accompanying the painter on a visit to Lin Xian-Tang beforehand.

 Figure 21: Group Photo from a Traveling Exhibition in Taichung during the 3rd Tai-Yang Exhibition
Source: Chen Cheng-Po Paintings and Papers
While diaries can reveal relations between painters and local gentry, old photos showing figures standing shoulder to shoulder hints at the invisible but highly important social network. The collection of Chen Cheng-Po includes a group photo dating from May 1937 of a traveling exhibition during the 3rd Tai-Yang Exhibition with fellow painters of the Tai-Yang Art Association Yang Zhao-Jia, Chang Hsing-Chien and others. Front row (from right): Lu Chi-Cheng, Hong Rui-Lin, Chen Te-Wang, Chen Cheng-Po, Lee Mei-Shu, Yang Zhao-Jia; first from left Chang Hsing-Chien; back row (from left): Li Shih-Chiao, Yang San-Lang.

There were few glimpses of artists through the activities of the Taiwan Cultural Association during the 1920s, but by the 1930s thriving cultural movements had given rise to literature and art jointly taking the center stage. In May 1934, Chang Shen-Chieh, Yang Kui and Chang Hsing-Chien founded The Taiwan Literature and Art Alliance, rallying such cultural elements as writers, dramatists and artists. They not only echoed the first exhibition of the Tai-Yang Art Association due to be held in the next year but also published pieces of art criticism and introduced painters and artist groups in Taiwan Bungei, a magazine of the alliance. All the while, the painters of the Tai-Yang Art Association were invited to help with magazine cover designs, illustrations, their thoughts and forums. Such was the evidence of collaboration between painters and those who worked in literature and art during the 1930s.

 

 Figure 22: Group Photo with Yang Zhao-Jia and Members of the Taiwan Literature and Art Alliance Tokyo Branch (Portion of Photo Album)
Source: LJK_08_03_0230016, Yang Zhao-Jia Collection
The activities of the Taiwan Literature and Art Alliance during 1935 heralded the collaboration between writers and artists. In February that year, the Taiwan Literature and Art Alliance Tokyo Branch held its first round of tea party, inviting painters, novelists, poets, dramatists and more. The representative for painters was Yen Hsuei-Long who then worked for the SMOCA tooth powder company. Yang Zhao-Jia, who was campaigning against the imposition of the Rice Control Law in Tokyo at the time, was also invited to the tea party and this framed group photo was taken of him with the cultural figures present.

This kind of cross-field friendship and collaboration between literature and art continued through the 1940s in the shape of such publications as Taiwan Art and Taiwan Literature. A case in point would be Lu He-Ruo. He returned to Taiwan from Japan in 1942, served as the editor of Taiwan Literature, frequented Wang Ching-Chuan’s Landscape Pavilion Restaurant/Shan Shui Ting in Dadaocheng, and was in contact with fellow man of letters Chang Wen-Huan as well as painters Li Shih-Chiao, Yang San-Lang, Chen Cheng-Po and others, voicing and contributing their opinions in literature and art.

 Figure 23: 30 April 1943, The Diary of Lu He-Ruo
Source: T0899_01_02, Lu He-Ruo Papers
Man of letters Lu He-Ruo wrote in his diary entry on 30 April 1943 about his visit that day to the 9th Tai-Yang Exhibition and the review he penned as requested by Li Shih-Chiao “......went to the public hall to view the Tai-Yang Exhibition and Shih-Chiado asked me to pen for ‘Commentary on the Tai-Yang Exhibition’.” This review was likely the same one as “The Review of the Tai-Yang Exhibition - The Unceasing Honing of the Soul and the Skills” published by The Hsing-nan News on 3 May 1943. From a perspective Lu He-Ruo described as that of an amateur in art, he stated his belief that paintings were not meant to just reproduce nature as photographs did but had to be expressions of the artist’s inner values - therein lay the real artistic value of the creation.

As a mainstream, across-island civil artist group during Japanese colonial rule, the Tai-Yang Art Association continued its dominant position in the early years after the war. This is evidenced in the fact that the organization of the Taiwan Provincial Fine Arts Exhibition in 1946 was mostly taken up by the original members of the Tai-Yang Art Association who went on to shape or influence to a degree the style of exhibits found in the post-war art exhibitions that were organized by the state. The 11th exhibition in 1948, known as the Retrocession Memorial, signaled the resumption of activities for the Tai-Yang Art Association. In the early post-war years Yang Zhao-Jia in his capacity as a member of the provincial committee supported and encouraged artistic activities, as reflected in his collection of exhibition catalog for the Tai-Yang Exhibitions of the 1950-60s and related notes of gratitude written for him. The diary of Yang Ji-Jhen, a younger cousin of Yang Zhao-Jia, also records that he and Yang Zhao-Jia went in pair to view the exhibition of the Tai-Yang Art Association in May 1949 as well as the matter of being entrusted with the sale of exhibition tickets by Yang Zhao-Jia.


 Figure 24: Commemorative Group Photo from the 15th Tai-Yang Exhibition
Source: T1067_07_04_0001, Pu Tian-Sheng Sculptures and Papers
Group photo taken for commemoration on the site of the 15th Tai-Yang Exhibition on 9 May 1952 to be found in the collection of Pu Tian-Sheng. Front row (seated, second from left): Wang Ching-Chuan, Li Chao-Ran, Wang Pai-Yuan, Chiu Nien-Tai, Tsai Pei-Huo, Yang Zhao-Jia, Yu Mi-Chien, Wu Sa-Lian, Chou Ching-Tien. Back row (standing): Pu Tian-Sheng, Liao Chi-Chun, Chen Chin, Chin Jun-Tso, Chen Jing-Hui, Hong Rui-Lin, Lu Yun-Yu, Lin Yu-Shan, Yang San-Lang, Lee Mei-Shu, Yen Hsuei-Long, Li Shih-Chiao, Kuo Hsueh-Hu, Chang Wan-Chuan, Lu Chi-Cheng.



 Figure 25: The Tai-Yang Art Association’s Letter to Yang Zhao-Jia
Source: LJK_07_02_0450395, Yang Zhao-Jia Collection
In 1960, the Tai-Yang Art Association held its 23rd art exhibition. This letter to Yang Zhao-Jia not only expressed gratitude for his vigorous support, to which the association attributed the good reviews that the exhibition garnered, but also made a mention of the sale of paintings. It was accompanied by an exhibition catalog meant to correct an error.

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