Sanyi Woodcarving Capital

Michella Jade Weng, Presenter:
Hi, I・m Michella and this is my friend...
Gunter Whittome, German expat:
Gunter, hi. We・ve arrived today in Sanyi, Miaoli in central Taiwan which is Taiwan・s capital of the woodcarving art.

Shen Pei-ze, Woodcarver:
In the hills of Sanyi there used to be many camphor trees which were cut down for timber. One day when a local resident named :Wu Jin-bao; was about to use the land for farming, he dug up some of the tree roots and realized that exposure to the elements and termites made them really pretty.

Because tree roots have a unique aesthetic, the local woodcarvers decided to incorporate those features into each sculpture.

Shen Pei-ze, Woodcarver:
It still maintains its natural look even after sculpting work has been done to it. This is the style of Sanyi・s woodcarving.

And from this tree root, Shen Pei-ze is creating a scene with a flower and leaf of a lotus in it.

Michella Jade Weng, Presenter:
Do you smell something?

Gunter Whittome, German expat:
Yeah I can smell something. Do you know what it reminds me of? When I was small, my mom used a kind of oil - I think it was camphor oil.
This is the award-winning Sanyi Wood Sculpture Museum. It tells the story of the local woodcarving industry - how it started out producing first for the Japanese market then the American and European markets, then later evolved to making more artistic sculptures. On display are traditional and modern pieces as well.

Gunter Whittome, German expat:
You find woodcarving in other countries too, but I haven・t seen a city which revolves all around the art of woodcarving and I haven・t seen such a large and specialized museum which concentrates on woodcarving. I was here the last time four years ago, what I・ve learned today is there are also places here where you can actually get active yourself. There are some DIY places where you can paint sculptures or try to develop your own creativity a bit and maybe there weren・t such many places around last time, or I simply didn・t know of them, but now I・ve seen some nice places like this.

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