May 19, 2011

Bantou Village, Xingang Township

Located in Southern Taiwan, Chiayi County, Bantou Village (板頭社區) is the cutest village and is filled with the JiaoZhi Pottery art. (交趾陶) It is one of the places where you can enjoy fresh air with a rural feeling. It’s also a great place to enjoy the JiaoZhi artwork offering visitors surprises in every corner of the village.

JiaoZhi is a soft ceramic used for the wall decorations in numerous temples of Taiwan. It also has become household collections. They are colorful and I couldn’t keep my eyes off them. A simple pile with all the wasted JiaoZhi has become an interesting and gorgeous piece of art. It caught my attention once we arrived here next to the entrance of the Bantouyao. (板頭窯)

Chiayi is the famous region for the JiaoZhi Pottery in Taiwan. Bantou is the birth place of the owner of the Banouyao factory, Mr. Chen, Zhongzheng. Mr. Chen was concerned about the gradually disappearing JiaoZhi pottery in Taiwan and decided to transform this farm village into a characteristics village with the JiaoZhi art.

Walking is the best way to see the whole village although it was about an hour and half walk. However, an alternative is to take the car-train which imitates the original “Wufenzhi train”(五分仔車 ) look.

We received a map at the Bantouyao, and checked out each point of interest in town. Along the road, green rice fields, fresh air and nice breeze make me feel relaxed!

If you pay attention to the wall decorations on the fences of the residency, you may see a cute and humorous JiaoZhi art. Not only children love to hug them, adults love to photograph them. They are all designed differently. Each art has its story. It is said that it tells what this resident was working for living, sheep, cows, and fishing…. They also reflect the old time rural children’s life.

The largest art wall piece is the Large Melia Azedarach Tree (大苦楝樹), also known as Chinaberry tree. The location of this village is far away from the sea that makes hot summer and cold winter. This type of weather hard for most of the plants, however, it’s good for Chinaberry tree. It gets purple flowers in the spring, green leaves in the summer and seeds in the Fall. All those characteristics are all reflected on this large piece of artwork.

As I look at it closer, they are made with porcelain bowls that were broken, cut, then pasted and cemented. The whole tree was made up with 20,000 bowls.

Comparing it to the height of ours, you can see how tall this artwork is!

Another point of interest in this village is the 100-year-old Wufen Railroad. It is also known as “Wufenzhi Railroad”. The railroad track is only about 67.2cm wide and only half of the standard track size, so it was named as “Sufenzhi Railroad” (half of the size). (五分仔車 )

Before the highways, the local residents relied on “Wufen Railroad for transportation. It used to be the most profitable railroad owned by the Taiwan Sugar Corporation, so the railroad was also called “Golden Railroad”. It was completely closed in 1998 because there has not had a need for service.

With the effort of Mr. Chen, Zhongzheng and local residents, the train station and a gorgeous train park were rebuilt in 2004.

We enjoyed our visit so much in every corner. I was impressed that a former farm could be transformed into an artistic village without being interrupted by commercials. Actually, by visiting many farms or fisherman villages in Taiwan, I was left with the impression: “no selling, no advertising, but relaxing and refreshing in a clean, no pressure, and artistic environment.” Read More

14 comments:

San said...

原來板頭有這樣一個特別的地方
到處都是陶瓷工藝
走了進來
簡直就是走進了文化村一樣~

Zhu said...

For some reason, I love taking pictures of railroads. I like these two parallel lines!

The art is super cute, when I saw the first picture, I went "awww..." :-)

micki and kristen said...

@ San- 謝謝San! 板頭村真的是個美麗,清爽,又有藝術氣息的小農村~

@ Zhu- Thanks! Your railroad pictures have inspired me as well~

Rafael Lam said...

Very interesting art village!
I like those cute paintings and sculptures!

micki and Kristen said...

Thanks! Rafael~ Aren't they cute! I could not keep my eyes off them...;o)

ristinw said...

Super cute photo!!! :D

micki and kristen said...

Thank you! Ristinw

Jorge Miyashiro said...

Hey! I missing for new posts! :))))

micki and kristen said...

Hi, Jorge thanks for checking on us! We have been extremely busy... Ha! but I think this is not a good excuse, isn't it? We really need to get back on even within our busy schedule~~ Thanks again, and will see you soon~ ;)

Jorge Miyashiro said...

Ok! Better to deal with your business first. Then get back with new energy after. I'm your fan, you know!

micki and kristen said...

Hi, Jorge, thank you always in supporting us and be our fan~~ :):)

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Phoenix Flyer said...

People live in this village, right? It must be great to be surrounded by so much color and art every day! I particularly like that Chinaberry Tree wall, it looks fantastic!

micki and kristen said...

Hello, Phoenix Flyer-it's a good size village, has lots of villagers in there, and a great place to spend the weekend there~

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