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The Historical Atlas of Tainan, 1642-1960 Book Launch Party See the changes of Southern Taiwan represented in maps

Tainan was originally the territory of the Siraya Tribe. Throughout history this land has changed hands between the Dutch, the Kingdom of Tungning, the Qing dynasty, and Japanese occupation, culminating in the landscape and culture you see today. The past 400 years of development and changes are not only recorded in many historical documents but also depicted in maps from different times. Through the presentation of maps, we can further understand what the land looked like in the past and have a conversation with historical data.

The Historical Atlas of Tainan, 1642-1960 book launch party took place on the morning of December 24 in front of the remains of Fort Zeelandia (Anping Fort). The event was attended by acting Director General of the Cultural Affairs Bureau Yeh Tse-shan, Tainan Municipal Administration of Cultural Heritage director Lin Chiao-pin, and Program Director of SMC Publishing Inc. Wei Te-wen. Other experts that helped edit and proofread the book were also invited to the event, including Academia Historica President Wu Mi-cha, ITH Academia Sinica Research Fellow Hsieh Kuo-hsing, National Museum of Taiwan History Research Team Supervisor Shih Wen-cheng, and NCKU Department of History Head Ueng Jia-sheng.

The Historical Atlas of Tainan, 1642-1960 is co-published by Tainan Municipal Administration of Cultural Heritage and SMC Publishing Inc. The project took six years to complete, from collecting 165 significant maps to research and systematically writing descriptions. The collection includes a great variety of map types and themes, which are separated into 20 categories, including topographic maps, harbor maps, administrative maps, and street maps. Fourteen map reprints are included in the first print edition, which makes the book a valuable collector’s item.

The publishing process for this map collection was not easy, and acquiring the rights to the maps was especially difficult. The maps came from various institutions in Taiwan, including the National Palace Museum and the National Museum of Taiwan History. Many more came from collections around the world, including the National Archives of the Netherlands and the Japan National Diet Library. Unlike other map collections published in Taiwan, The Historical Atlas of Tainan, 1642-1960 is specially bound to allow for printing the maps in sizes similar to those of the originals. This feature enables the maps to be presented in the clearest format for researchers.

The Cultural Affairs Bureau stated that a substantial number of maps has been collected over the years, and they can supplement where text in historical materials is insufficient. These maps can also be used for comparison with other historical documents. For instance, the “Geographical Map of Taiwan Island” in the collection clearly marks the mountains, rivers, and locations of villages; it also illustrates the life and culture of the people of that time. Careful observation reveals the traditional song and dance of the Siraya tribe is depicted on the map. The depiction corresponds with historical documents. This traditional dance has been passed down for generations and can still be seen in Dongshan District Kabuasua Siraya Night Sacrifice, Danei District Toushe Siraya Night Sacrifice, and Beitouyang Siraya Night Sacrifice. Such factors urge us to invest more in the preservation of cultural assets, so that we can sustain the diverse culture of Tainan.

Tainan has a deep and rich history. As a result of years of researching and recording, the topics presented in this book are diverse and bountiful. The Cultural Affairs Bureau has published Tainan Historiography, Tainan Cultural Research Series, and the Tainan Cultural Asset Series. The publishing of The Historical Atlas of Tainan, 1642-1960 is a great undertaking that reconstructs the history of Tainan; it is also the crystallization of the efforts of collecting existing ancient Tainan maps in Taiwan and abroad. The publication will help scholars research Tainan from more angles and will open a new era of Tainan studies. Furthermore, this new research will make the presentation of Tainan history more complete and build a sturdy foundation for the field of Tainan studies. We also hope the in-depth research results from the publishing of this collection will make Tainan City’s historical documents more robust and further propel the already diverse Tainan studies to another level.