Though the glamour seems to fade,
The artists firmly stand by their hereditary arts,
With all the skillful hands, representing the beauty of weaving,
tailoring and carving with their skillful hands,
Liking the cultural gaps between generations,
And guard the art territories of the Hakka.
【Ancestral shrine architect】Fu Ming-guan
Fu Ming-guan, 1939~, Chu-tong, Hsin-chu County. For personal interests and professional skills, he followed master worker Lin A-kun who was a disciple of even more famous master Peng A-hai. Fu learned architectural knowledge form Peng, and finished his discipleship about at the age of 20, and later completed a san-ho-yuan (three-section compound) in Er-chong-pu, that was the first among his representative works. Fu is very skilled I traditional architectural style, including san-ho-yuan, si-ho-yuan (four-section compound), ancestral shrines, and clan halls, as well as temples of Southern and Northern styles. His major grand works, either constructed or restored by him, including Jin Gang Temple in Nan-pu Village, Bei-pu, ‘Little Liu’s Ancestral Shirne ( a national grade 3 historic site) and Jin Guang Fu in Pei-pu ( a national grade 1 historical site).
Chiu He-shun, 1932~, Guan-su, Hsin-chu County. He started his carving career of the age of 15, learning the skills in Xi Fu Temple, Yang-mei, with his fellow townsman. Later, e was instructed by famous craftsman Huang Guei-li, practicing his skills by working in Taipei Long San Temple, Maio-li Tien-wei Yuan Ho Temple and Hsin-chu City Kuan Yin temple. In 1985, he started his production of wood carving based on folklores; and in 1989, he was touched when his instructor Huang Guei-li was awarded with ‘ The Global Chinese Culture & Arts Award’ by the Education Department of R.O.C., during the celebrations of Long San Temple’s 250 anniversary, that he decided to devote himself to production based on temple themes. He has held several individual art exhibitions, and received very favorable reviews.
【Ancestor Plaques】Chen Fu-hsiong
Chen Fu-hsiong, 1942~, Guan-si, Hsin-chu County. Since the generation of his great grandparent Chen En-gu, the Chens had been producing ‘ancestor plaques’ for daily important ancestor worshipping in all the families. Through his grandfather Chen rong-da and his father Chen Sheng-si, Chen Fu-hsiong, the 4th generation, started his prentice at the age of 16, and it has been more than 40 years since then. The business of producing ‘ancestor plaques’ is related to carving, painting, gold plating, woodwork, calligraphy and coloring; furthermore, the rituals of setting the plagues on worshiping tables require the knowledge of positioning, fixing proper dates and holding ceremonies. As traditional arts downfallen and professional people rare, Chen Fu-hsiong had to do all the works and finish the procedure alone. As a result, he has achieved himself as a rare and number one omni-bearing artist of the trade.
Hsieh Jing-lai, 1910~, Mei-nong, Kao-hsiong County. He started to learn blue-dress tailoring at the age of 22, and when he first ran his own tailor shop, he hired three skillful tailors from Fu-zou and Win-zou, taking charge of the productions of Western suites, dress and traditional clothing. As the owner himself, he was at the same time a prentice, cloth seller and cook, working all day long in the shop. In 1941, Taiwan was still under Japanese governing, blue-dress making and other indigenous productions were forbidden for being against the Japanese assimilation policies to Taiwanese people, and the trade thus came to an end. The business didn’t revive until the restoration of Taiwan. In 1987, Hsieh Jing-lai was invited by Kao-hsiong County Tourist Festival to demonstrate blue-dress making skills on-site, and was honored greatly. At the age of 93, he now still tailor blue-dress personally everyday.
【Paper Pasting】Liu Hsing-hsing
Liu Hsing-hsing, 1946~, Hsin-pu, Hsin-chu County. It has been 51 years since the first time he learned paper pasting from father and grandfather. He started his learning from basic training, such as twining paper string and making paper frames, and eventually proceeded to paper pasting, woodcarving, mud sculpturing, paper carving, embroidery, coloring and molding. Taking the advantage of social change, Liu Hsing-hsing integrated artists from Taiwan dn China and promoted his small-scale traditional paper pasting business to a modern company operation. Currently, Liu’s paper pasting service covers very large areas, from middle Taiwan up to the north, and customers are from both Hakka and Fukien communities.
Wu Kai-hsing, 1908~2000, Miao-li City. He started his pottery career since he worked in Japanese owned Da Keng Kiln at the age of 13. Due to his quick-learning and hardworking, he soon made very great progress in pottery making. At the age of 22, he worked in ‘Fu hsing Kiln’, established by his uncle Lui Jing-yun and mostly produced Japanese everyday use potteries. After taking charge of ‘Fu hsing Kiln’ for some decades, at the age of 63, he transferred the management to his son, Wu Song-kwei, and devoted himself to the creation of new products. Going through all the obstacles along the way, he finally successfully changed the traditional pottery factory into a famous modern and artistic pottery kiln.
【Woodcarving according to the material’s original shape】Wu Lo-song
Wu Lo-song, 1915~2000, San-yi, Miao-li County. In 1918, his father, Wu Jing-bao, while developing the hillsides, found dry camphor roots all over the place, most of them with very unique shape, and took them back home as decorations. Years later, after being instructed by Japanese woodcarving craftsmen and returned to his father, Wu Lo-song took charge of his father’s woodcarving business. He soon worked on the roots found by his father. He kept those roots in original shape, but carved different figures of both human beings and animals on them, initiating woodcarvings based on the wood’s natural texture and shape. Furthermore, he sent great amount of his works to Japan for exhibition and thus achieved his fame. Later, he established a woodcarving institute in San-yi, and trained a great number of excellent artists. After the restoration of Taiwan, Wu Lo-song, who was very devoted to public welfare, was elected as county councilor for three times, and passed away in his last term of service.
【Mei-nong Paper Umbrella】Lin A-qwei
Lin A-qwei, 1899~1990s, mei-nong, Kao-hsiong County. ‘1986 The Global Chinese Culture & Arts Award’ winner. He went to Hsia-men with his fellow townsman Wu Chen-hsing in 1922, and engaged in brewery in the beginning before devoting himself to tung oil soaked paper umbrella manufacturing. When he returned to Mei-nong, he established ‘Kuang Shing Chang’ paper umbrella factory with his cousins, and employed four experienced craftsmen from China; the factory was the fountainhead of Mei-nong’s umbrella manufacturing. ‘Kuang hsing Chang’ paper umbrella factory is currently under the management of Lin A-qwei’s daughter-in-law, and due to the famous soap opera ‘Stars Reflecting My Heart’ was shot there, this umbrella factory became even more famous than ever, almost a byword of Mei-nong’s umbrella business.