Taiwan Arts and Culture


Taiwan’s history and culture are inextricably linked to China due to the migratory flows that, from the continent, gradually populated the island over the centuries. Many aspects of the lifestyle, artistic productions, folklore and everything that informs the cultural dimension of Taiwan must therefore be traced back to the Chinese tradition. The modernity and development which, however, have now largely taken hold in the country are a sort of crasis between West and East. Strong is the commitment put in place both by the population, which preserves rituals and customs especially in social relations and in private or public celebrations, and by the institutions, to try to preserve the important heritage of works, arts and traditions, in a certain a sense “threatened” by the widespread diffusion of clothes, music, food and sports of Western origin. Projects like the Cultural Heritage Preservation Act, events such as the National Festival of Culture and Arts and bodies such as the National Center for Traditional Arts are just some of the pieces of a program for the enhancement of Taiwan’s heritage to which private entities such as the Chinese Folk Art Foundation are added. and the Taiwan Folk ArtsMuseum. The fields of expression are innumerable: from seminars on calligraphy, shows dedicated to dance with drums, tea ceremonies, the making of masks. Furthermore, the theater is very lively, in particular that of the figure, as well as traditional opera and ballet are present in the artistic programming of the various rooms and are the subject of teaching in many institutes.


If forms of popular literature, for a long period only in oral form, have developed throughout the history of Taiwan, a literary movement begins to speak only since the mid-nineteenth century, with some poets authors of lyrics reserved for cultural elites. (Cai Ting-lan, Chen Jhao, Huang Jing). In the colonial period there was a strong tendency to defend one’s cultural heritage, even in literary works, and only in the 1920s. the New Taiwanese Literature (TNL) was born, which was part of a broader cultural reform aimed at opposing Japanese rule: the father of the TNL is considered Lai He (1893-1943). The decades that followed saw the emergence of many Chinese writers in Taiwan, as a result of political events, and starting from the 1960s and 1970s the Family Catastrophe and Wang Wun-sing’s Backed Against the Sea, among examples of that modernist aesthetic). Since the Eighties, the aboriginal and popular traditions have received new life, and at the same time we have witnessed the birth of a new generation of writers, less tied to the past and more projected towards global issues (the world of economics, the new social roles of woman, science fiction). According to itypeauto, the different contents also correspond to new languages, new narrative techniques, a pluralism of methodological and technological approaches, whose major exponents have proved to be authors such as Yang Jhao, Luo Yi-jyun, Cheng Ying-shu and, in poetry, Lin Yao-te.


In art, given the constant “Chinese” (of which one of the significant examples of the reign of Qianlong, 1736-95 – is the Lung Shan-ssŭ temple), it should be noted that the production of the aboriginal population remained until the century. XVII to the Neolithic stage. The influence of Indonesian culture was then felt in some areas of the island, mainly in ornamental production. During the Japanese occupation (1895-1945), the influence of French impressionism was great, in artists such as Chen Cheng-bo, Li Shih-chiao, Li Mei. In literature around the sixties of the twentieth century suggestions of Western culture were increasingly perceived, such as abstractionism (whose main exponent in Taiwan was Li Jhong-sheng). From the seventies is the New Nativist Art, a movement that went in the opposite direction to westernization, seeking the recovery of local cultural roots. The last decades of the twentieth century were the cradle of a great variety of artists, movements, styles and schools. Among the most influential are the 101 Modern Art Group, Wu Tian-jhang and Yang Mao-lin. The major institutions of the Taiwanese art world are the National Palace Museum, in T’aipei, whose very rich collection ranges from painting, to ceramics, to sculpture from different historical periods; the Taipei Fine Arts Museum, the Museum of Contemporary Art and the Taipei Art Fair International festival.


Alongside a cinematography obedient to above all commercial criteria, starting from the Eighties another of the highest level has developed rapidly and has rapidly established itself in the West. They are awarded the Golden Lion at the VeniceFilm Festival La città dolente (1989) by Hou Hsia Hsien, the first film in the trilogy consisting of The master of puppets, Good Man and Good Woman, and Vive amaour by Tsai Ming Lian (1994). In 1993 in Berlin Ang Lee wins the Golden Bear with Banquet of marriage, which will be followed in 1994 by Eating and Drinking for Men and Women; The Tiger and the Dragon (2000), winner of four Oscars, The Secrets of Brokeback Mountain (2005), awarded with three other Oscars and with the Golden Lion in Venice, also awarded to the director for Lussuria (2007). Also worth mentioning are Wu Nien Jen’s A Borrowed Life (1994), E. Yang’s A Confucian Confusion, and Hsu Hsiao-ming’s Broken Hearts Island. Third millennium cinema is experiencing a certain shift towards more sentimental genres with titles such as Taipei 21 (2004), by Alex Yang (b.1965), 20-30-40 (2004) by Sylvia Chang (b.1953), and at the same time, he explores digital cinematography in the round with authors such as Chu Yen-ping and Wang Yu-ya.

Taiwan Arts and Culture

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