Updated on: August 1, 2017
Penghu, in addition to having sweeping winds for nearly half the year, has many beautiful landscapes, monuments and local products. The features mentioned are quite vague, and even the people of Penghu cannot always make them clear. If you want to learn the traditional style of Penghu and how our ancestors in Penghu cultivated the fields to support their families, the Penghu living museum will give you satisfactory answers. Through displays and explanations in the museum you will understand the hardships our ancestors faced to cross the sea and settle here. You will also experience the Penghu people’s traditional spirit of “three drops of water (it means to bear hardships and hard work)” via the design of the museum and the cultural models made.
The façade of the living museum is curved like a “horse’s back”, and the roof is wave-shaped as a symbol of the tides. This is symbolic of the ocean’s significance to the Islands. The museum’s exhibition will also lead you through a time tunnel, where you can understand, step by step, Penghu’s history, culture and ecology. The whole museum is a forum for memory to take shape and though it is a small town, it is full of stories. In the theater, you will be able to view your own and others’ memories and keep track of the past, present and future Penghu.
Share the joy in the people of Penghu’s hearts
Entering the museum’s lobby, you are greeted by smiling faces covering a pink wall. Every smile reveals an optimistic attitude to life and is a reflection of the true nature of Penghu’s people. Projected on the smiling face, the image of Penghu also tells of spirit of the people of Penghu. You are welcome to have your smile attached to the wall with everybody else. Walk forward along the curved wall of smiling faces and you will encounter a nest of the Penghu skylarks. When you stop to admire the little yellows beaks of the birds in the nest waiting to be fed, you will hear the light songs of the Pescadores Skylark in the sky.
Look up! The flock of birds flying overhead may take you back to lying in a grass field as a child. Proceed to the column next to the escalator to find a peephole where you can learn more about the smiling faces on the column, and then take the escalator to the second floor to begin the next stage.
Discovery of Penghu in the time tunnel
Go up to the second floor and into the arched time corridor. On the right hand side are models of a Chimei stoneware manufacturing field, Penghu’s unearthed archaeological artifacts, a compass for navigation, Penghu maps drawn by the Dutch in the late Ming Dynasty, ancient shipwreck and trade pictures, underwater excavations of the archaeological artifacts and even underwater video featuring Jiang Jun I – historical pictures that represent Penghu at different times throughout its history. On the left hand side, a 1:1 ratio Toushi, of Ancient Chinese Junk, and a reduced scale model of the Dutch ship are displayed to emphasize the marine tradition of Penghu’s history.
As you walk across the glass floor full of the ocean view, you leave behind a trail of waves. The ancestors’ hardships in the reclamation of Penghu and the frustration of leaving home to work in Taiwan are reflected one by one on the palette highlighted by the reading of rumors full of vicissitudes. As that period of difficult years comes to a close, the Mazu Temple area commercial building changes appear. There are also the contract documents during the Japanese occupation, house No. plates, street scene photos, models of the sea battle between the Qing Regime and Koxinga of the Ming Regime, Siyu Western Fort and Eastern Fort of Qing Dynasty, and the old photos of the bombing of Penghu by the Allies’ airplanes during the Battle for the Pacific. The display bears traces of all these different periods in Penghu.
Across the corridor of history, you will return to life in Penghu, where you can explore the tenacity of the people of Penghu. First of all, the ragged, oddly dressed messengers and the heroic, brilliant and tidy “liangsan man” will lead you to the religious beliefs of the islands. Exhibits include imitation plaques related to the praise of Mazu, Xuan Tian Shang Di (the true Emperor) and Cheng Huang (the City God). There are also photos of three Penghu temples and religious ceremonies, a video on the ceremonies of inviting the king (God), farewell to the king (God) and a little Taoist rewarding the troops. In addition, there are sacrifices, offerings, possessions and Note Offerings (of paper money). The prominent plaques and videos explain all kinds of stories of human-God interaction. Then there are arrangements of sacrificial offerings and models of folk festivals, such as Lantern Festival qigui, Tomb Sweeping Festival, Ghost Festival, and the Winter Solstice Ancestor Worship Festival. There are also interactive displays such as the living calendar picture and reciting of sayings to describe to you the developing years of Penghu.
“Excavating the mountain and fishing from the sea” is the lifestyle of Penghu
After leaving the religious section, accompanied by a realistic veiled women, you may make a trip of the Penghu “Agricultural Life .” The word “agriculture” workshop commonly refers to the lands, fields, and forest lands in Penghu, where a variety of plants and animals dwell. A vast green expanse, courtesy of the artist’s brush greets the viewer. In the oil painting, a stretch of ridge “walled farmland” and “dry field” illustrate the vitality of the green, and the farmers are seen driving cows to plow the fields, bending while farming, or raising pigs and cattle. The showcase exhibits old bamboo baskets, rakes, slicing machines, a pig feed tank and other farming implements. In the background are the vague sounds of the whip cracking, yelling and the cattle mooing, creating the illusion of actually being in the scene.
If you look back, you can see a fisherman emerging from the stone weirs. He is harpooning, with his waist bent and head down. Do not underestimate these two dark stone weirs. Known as the stone tidal weirs, they were the most important fishing facility in winter in the early days of Penghu. You can walk in the stone weirs and play with the images of fish, and you can also follow the winding stone tidal weirs to understand our ancestors’ wisdom in stone weirs for fishing. Be careful, but don’t be frightened by the money eel (Gymnothorax favagineus) that is hiding in the stone weirs. At the other side of the wall are models of intertidal mudflat, such as digging for mussels and clams, picking sea snails and inshore fisheries such as fishnet drawing fish with light and longline fishing, and poster outputs of dealings in the fishing markets. Here, you can learn about the many facets of the present and ancient fishing industry in Penghu.
Passing the crowded fish market, there is one large stove in the corner. The people of Penghu call this the “fish stove.” Previously, the fish stove was the processing site of silver anchovy (Spratelloides gracilis), redeye rond herring (Etrumeus terres), and Dried neritic squid throughout Penghu. It was also a major side business for working women to supplement the family income in many fishing villages. There is a large and small bamboo mat, bamboo basket, and fishing traps on the ground or hung to dry in the sun. In front of the fish stove, you may smell the “fish fragrance!” Moving on to the third floor you will use your sense of hearing. There are traditional two- and three-stringed instruments, lutes and other musical instruments. There are photos of Bayin, gongs and drums and nanguan. there is also an interactive display of a book of Penghu of songs.
The family affairs in Penghu house
The display on the third floor focuses on the traditional Penghu house and family affairs. The display is separated into the inside and outside. A wall with the traditional architectural vocabulary of Penghu separates the two. The outside of the Penghu house display shows a fountain, Luban real ruler (gate meter), chisel, spatula, axes and other traditional Penghu construction tools, tiles, ceramic tiles, basalt rocks, Lao Gu Stones (coral stones), clay or soil, and other traditional building materials. Along with some patterns of traditional architecture, all kinds of masonry can be seen. There are also pictures of early people from Penghu preparing materials and the renovation of the old roof illustrates the building history in the early years of Penghu.
Passing through Children and Grandchildren Lane, inside of the wall is an area showing the customs of marriage and childrearing in Penghu. First, to the left of the window are models of sugarcane with leaves, a gratitude basket, sesame ball (glutinous rice dough and peanut butter or red bean paste fillings), guiding chickens, pork knuckles, little grandchild barrels (urinary barrel), and a sedan chair to display the rite of passage to manhood. There is also a bridal chamber, which is furnished with the auspicious red bed and models of the bride and groom in their wedding attire. Other traditional wedding items can also be seen, such as a gossip bamboo ornament, cakes, four-colored plates, wedding buns, and the bride’s peach cakes. This shows the various rites the Penghu people conducted on the Big Day in the early years.
On the right side of the window, there is a model of a pregnant woman carrying a child, which opens the section on bearing children. The various items for new mothers, who were traditionally not allowed out of the house for a month, a Sedan Chair for feeding the baby, a cradle, bathtub, bonnet, shoes as well as traditional foods like oil rice and red eggs are on display. On the wall are photos of shaving the hair at one month old and saliva collection at four months old, as well as the model of “baby picking his future done on the first birthday.
The ancestral hall and stove (kitchen)
At the end of the rituals display is a traditional ancestral hall and stove found in traditional houses. The ancestral hall, also known as the divine hall, is the most sacred place in houses. Usually this room has a shrine for the gods and ancestor nameplates. There is also traditionally a candle stand, incense burners, and other ritual objects to perpetuate the link from generation to generation. On top of the wall on both sides of the door of the ancestral hall, a hexagonal beam for a hanging lanterns was often installed whenever a wedding was held; the top of the main door is hung with a red paper reading “Jade Emperor” to be worshiped every morning and evening.
The stove (known as kitchen) is often filled with the unforgettable tastes and smells of food made by mother or grandmother. In the early years, inside the average family’s stove was a main stove and a rice stove. This was used to cook meals as well as, cook and stew pastries and offerings for special occasions. It could even be used to cook feed for the poultry and livestock. In addition to a steamer, cupboards, table, stools, a number of items were kept on hand for building and keeping the fire – peanut shells, sorghum, branches of white popinac (Leucaena leucocephala), cow dung cakes and other flammable items could all be used.
Walking out of the traditional kitchen, you can move a few steps forward to overlook the model of the Wang-an Huazhai village on the second floor. You can use the interactive buttons to learn more. After that, turn your head back to look at the window on the left. Through close contact with items to repel devil spirits, including stone tower,exorcising stone tablet (Shek Cam Dang), the sword-bitten lions,the eight diagram card, and five-camp army, and video presentation of Penghu’s “rituals to bounce off outside forces. ” of all villages, you can feel the strong demand Penghu people’s ancestors had for the psychological comfort of their beliefs in the supernatural.
Moving on a few steps, you will see a medicine bowl, a small steelyard for weighing medicinal material, savings book, medical kits, divinatory prescription）, medicine cabinet in pharmacy and other exhibits, and photos of public hospitals from the Japanese colonial period. This shows the difficulty of getting medical treatment that the residents of Penghu often face. This may help explain the religious devotion of the islands.
Ancient and modern entertainment
Moving on from the medical display window is the display of Penghu’s education and entertainment. The exhibition demonstrates private school teaching models of the early years and includes the Temple of Scholars’ God, the wire-bound ancient books and the four treasures of the study (writing brushes, ink sticks, paper and ink stones). There is also the resume of Penghu’s scholars, of the Qing Dynasty, that laid out the situation of private school teaching in the early years and the people’s pursuit of fame. After that, through photos and texts of the Japanese colonial period and modern education, the development of Penghu National Education is revealed.
In the leisure and entertainment display, exhibits are based on a picture and explanations of jiggling sandbags, peanut clips, puck and stick, flicking cowry, spinning tops, stealing stone eggs, and go straight chess, to re-shape the wisdom of children, make in the early years of Penghu. Canoeing, windsurfing, surfing and other modern recreational activities, tourism resources around the county and a variety of informational tours highlight the efforts of all walks of life in Penghu to develop the economy by promoting tourism.
Collective memory and vision of Penghu
There is another display on the third floor of the Living Museum that cannot be missed. It is the Living Memory Wall, which is based on the major events of Penghu and displays related objects, documents or photos to tell the history of Penghu. The wall has been divided into the four stages of Song, Yuan, Ming and Qing Dynasties, the Japanese colonial period, 1945 ~ 1981, when Taiwan was under a military dictatorship and the following development of democracy starting in 1982 and running until the present. The display Penghu’s people, events, places and objects gives tourists a chance to experience the modern history of Penghu. After browsing through the various periods of history and bearing witness to Penghu, you may wish to turn to the round “Penghu Theater.” When you leave the theater, the elegance and warmth of Penghu will be even more memorable.
Our life, our culture and our Living Museum