August 25- 27
Harbourfront Centre

Spring on Ali Mountain

1. The Cliff Wall of Ta Shan

2. The Spirit Mountain of the Tsou Tribes

3. “Zhao Ping” Station

4. Trees Aging More Than 600 Years

5. Cherry Blossoms

6. Chen Cheng-po’s Fascination on Ali Mountain

Spring on Ali Mountain

In the cool air of the alpine region, the colors of the nature seem to be brighter and more vibrant. The deep blue sky, the green mountains, and even the roofs of the houses in the villages all appear in rich and exotic colors.

During the early spring in the mountains, the cherry trees seem to blossom into beautiful flowers, bringing a lively touch to the whole painting. In the joyful rhythm of the salute to life, the dangerous cliffs also seem to be friendly and lovely. How do you feel when you look at the scenery of Ali Mountain in Chen Cheng-po’s painting?

1. The Cliff Wall of Ta Shan

The cliff wall with its distinctive rock layers is a wondrous creation of nature and the most distinctive feature of Ta Shan. This majestic wall has attracted countless Eastern and Western painters who have tried to express the unique texture of the wall and the mysterious atmosphere of the mountain forest with their own special painting techniques.

2. The Spirit Mountain of the Tsou Tribes

For the Tsou aborigines living in the Ali Mountain region, after death, the “spirits” will be separated from their original bodies, and Ta Shan is where these “spirits” will gather. According to the legends, the highest peak in the Ali Mountain range, Da Ta Shan, is the residence of the good spirits and the good dead, while the Xiao Ta Shan is the residence of the evil spirits and the evil dead.

3. “Zhao Ping” Station

To develop forestry resources, the colonial government launched a series of logging and reforestation projects in Ali Mountain, and the railroad for transporting timber penetrated the mountain area. “Zhao Ping” was the terminal station of the railway and was also the main logging site at that time. Most of the travelers like Chen Cheng-po would stay in this self-contained community.

4. Trees Aging More Than 600 Years

Chen Cheng-po usually finishes his works on location, and this time he also took the 60th canvas onto the train destined for Ali Mountain. It is said that after he finished applying color to the painting, he invited officials from the Forestry Bureau to identify the age of the trees in the painting for him. This detail may also reflect Chen Cheng-po’s self-imposed expectations on landscape sketching.

5. Cherry Blossoms

It is said that in 1918, the Japanese transplanted a large number of Yoshino cherry trees from mainland Japan to Ali Mountain. After a decade, thousands of different kinds of cherry blossoms have become one of the most well-known sceneries on Ali Mountain. Every year in early spring, the cherry blossom season always attracts large crowd of tourists who come by train to view the cherry blossoms.

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Yoshino cherry blossoms on Ali Mountain. Collection of the Institute of Taiwan History, Academia Sinica. Among the landscape postcards collected by Chen Cheng-po, one can also see the cherry blossoms in full bloom on Ali Mountain.

6. Chen Cheng-po’s Fascination on Ali Mountain

Among Chen Cheng-po’s existing works, many of his landscape paintings are based on the distant view of the Ali Mountain area. The sketchbook records of his sketches show that he used to travel back and forth to the mountains for sketching. In addition, through the collection of Chen Cheng-po’s old photographs and photographic works, we can also see the painter’s fascination in the mountains and forests.

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Ali Mountain Forest Bureau, from the landscape postcard collected by Chen Cheng-po. Collection of the Institute of Taiwan History, Academia Sinica.

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TAIWANfest Toronto is grateful to be held on the traditional, ancestral, and unceded territories of many nations, including the Mississaugas of the Credit, the Anishnabeg, the Chippewa, the Haudenosaunee and the Wendat peoples, that is now home to many diverse First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples. We acknowledge our privilege to be gathered here, and commit to work with and be respectful to the Indigenous peoples of this land while we engage in meaningful conversations of culture and reconciliation.