The Chen family has one of the most magnificent old mansions in Taiwan, located in Hsiu- shui,, Changhua County. The mansion was built in the Ch’ing dynasty around mid-nineteen century, when their ancestors came to Taiwan from Fukien across the strait. The Chens’ ancestors had a prosperous business and became wealthy, which enabled the second generation to take up studies and move up to a higher social rank. Their mansion, with carved beams and painted pillars, was then built as a symbol for their wealth social status as well as Chinese aesthetics.
The social system, tradition, religious practices, and the clan system often dictate the structure of Chinese architecture. The building is mainly supported by beams and pillars. Windows and doors are often meticulous art designs, such as circular doors and square windows, which would bring light and shadow into intricate play. And lattice window, arches, beams and pillars all flaunt exquisite woodcarving.
The old house is just like a big tree; the base is the root, the beams and pillars are the branches, while the roof is foliage. The extended roofs therefore represent growing offspring. But time has changed things and taken away the mansion’s splendor. Young people start their careers elsewhere, leaving the elders alone in the old house. The mansion, once grand and splendid, is collapsing.
source: Taiwan International Documentary Festival
1998 Taiwna International Documentary Festival - About the Island: Taiwan Documentary Retrospective
1998 Taiwna International Documentary Festival