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Tainan, the cultural capital of Taiwan, recently designated four more cultural heritage preservation skills and five preservationists

Recently, Tainan City Government convened a meeting to review potential intangible cultural heritage preservation skills and their preservationists. The meeting passed a resolution to add four preservation items to the list: traditional masonry, architectural carpentry for temples, temple clay ornament cutting and decoration, and Wangchuan building and restoration, together with five preservationists: Lyu Sin-yi, Wu Cyuan-kun, Chen Tian-ping, Wang Wu-syong, and Chen Jin-long.

Traditional masonry requires a wide range of traditional architecture techniques and knowledge. Lyu Sin-yi started to serve his apprenticeship with Lin Nao at the age of twelve, and learnt various skills such as walling, foundation, limewash application, and tiling. Lyu grew into a craftsman mastering traditional masonry techniques, and has taken on restoration projects for major historic sites such as Tainan Grand Matsu Temple, Nankunshen Daitian Temple, and the British Consulate at Takou.

Architectural carpentry for temples plays an essential part for the restoration of historic sites, as well as historical architecture. At the age of sixteen, Wu Cyuan-kun became an apprentice to Li Ben-jhong and Jiang Tian-shuei, and is well-acquainted with construction and restoration techniques for traditional style housing, temples, and Japanese style buildings. Chen Tian-ping who became Chen Cheng’s pupil and finished his apprenticeship at seventeen, is proficient in the entire process. Both Wu Cyuan-kun and Chen Tian-ping have participated in several domestic projects for major historic sites. For example, Wu has worked for the Founding Martial Temple and Nankunshen Daitian Temple. In fact, he has just finished the restoration project for Chi Jin Mazu Temple. Chen has also taken part in the projects for Tainan Grand Matsu Temple, the Lin family’s mansion and garden in Wufeng, and Founding Queen of Heaven Temple.

Examples of temple clay ornament cutting and decoration can be seen in temple roofing and walls. Wang Wu-syong followed his father’s step to take an apprenticeship with Yu Zong, to learn the techniques. He has taken on restoration jobs for temples such as Taiwan Fu City God Temple, Tainan Grand Matsu Temple, and Jin Hua Temple. Additionally, Wang has led workshops to pass on this precious craft.

Wangchuan construction is a key element for Wangchuan festivals. The traditional shipbuilding skills are also important for the preservation and restoration of old sailboats and Wangchuan relevant items. At the age of thirteen, Chen Jin-long started to learn to build ships in the plant run by his uncle Chen Ming-cing. In the early days, shipbuilding projects were mainly for wooden fishing boats. However, as time passed, Chen Jin-long also started to take on yacht projects, as well as projects for temples. The boats he has built for temple events are not only exquisite, but firm and solid. Master Jin-long also undertakes Wangchuan restoration work for temples such as Anping’s Miao Shou Temple.

Tainan Municipal Administration of Cultural Heritage indicated that the cultural heritage preservation techniques include the precious preservation and restoration skills for both tangible and intangible cultural heritage items. All the designated techniques will be recorded and preserved continuously, as well as passed on to the future generations through education.

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