Taichung Hakka Village – Shuidui Settlement


Taichung Hakka Village – Shuidui Settlement| 水碓聚落

Shuidui Settlement is one of the earliest settlements to be developed in Taichung City and is its first Hakka village. The settlement was originally targeted for demolition in the city government's urban renewal plan, but it was finally saved after the local people as well as cultural and historical workers lobbied hard to save it. Under the efforts of local cultural and historical workers, it is now the most well-preserved old settlement in Taichung.

During the reign of Emperor Kangxi in the Qing Dynasty, in 1710, the military commander Liu Yuan-yi (劉源沂) was in charge of developing Litoudian of Dadu Mountain (now Taichung’s Nandun) for cultivation. At that time, Liu settled in Shuidui, and he felt that the environment was refined and the land fertile, so he invited his brother Liu Yuan-mei (劉源美) and his whole family to move there from Fujian province in 1713. Together they developed the area into a village, dividing up the labor and cooperating in cultivating, harvesting, cleaning up the water, and working together to create a Hakka settlement with a simple living culture. Thus, the area became a traditional Hakka settlement.


Self-sufficient Settlement

The center of Shuidui Settlement is the Liu family ancestral hall. Further out, thorny bamboo forests surround the village to provide protection. The settlement’s space is divided into public halls and houses, as well as gardens, and vegetable patches. Various crops were planted depending on the season. Around the houses and in between the fields, fruit trees and bamboo trees were widely planted. The fruit trees not only serve as wind protection, various fruits can be eaten and the wood can also be used as fuel for large stoves.

In addition to providing bamboo shoots for people to eat, the bamboo trees were also a good building material. They have been used to make many early traditional living products. The poultry and livestock raised, other than cattle, eventually became human food. After simple composting, the manure of the poultry and livestock as well as human feces became the most natural organic fertilizer for crops. Thus the traditional rural settlement’s way of life was used to build a complete ecosystem of “energy regeneration” and “energy self-sustainment.”

 

Hakka-style buildings

The traditional architectures that still remain in Shuidui Settlement were mainly built with mud bricks. The foundation of the structures consists of pebbles and the roofs are thatch or straw, which keeps the houses warm in the winter and cool in the summer. All the building material was obtained locally. In the early days, the roofs had a lot of Hakka characteristics, with black and thin tiles, which gradually gave way to red and thin tiles and then cement tiles. The walls had a lot of Hakka flavor and were black in color. The “huo fang (kitchen)” in traditional Hakka houses was built as a social unit to symbolize
the strong clan consciousness of the Hakka people.