Taiwan honors 4 traditional artists as 'national living treasures'

01/10/2022 07:17 PM
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Chuang Wu-nan. Photo courtesy of the Ministry of Culture
Chuang Wu-nan. Photo courtesy of the Ministry of Culture

Taipei, Jan. 10 (CNA) The Ministry of Culture on Monday honored four Taiwanese artists as "national living treasures" for their intangible cultural achievements and contributions to the arts.

In a statement, the ministry listed the awardees as Yu Li-hai (游禮海), Chuang Wu-nan (莊武男), Chiang Shi-mei (江賜美) and Cheng Rom-shing (鄭榮興), all of whom are recognized for the role they have played in preserving the nation's traditional performing arts and crafts.

Yu's woodworking skills originate in the Daxi area of Taoyuan which is renowned for traditional wood-based crafts, the ministry said. He is also known for blending traditional Fujian woodworking style and Western carving in works that showcase a unique type of Taiwanese craftsmanship.

Meanwhile, Chuang has specialized in paintings of traditional buildings for over 60 years, and is a master of colored depictions of traditional Taoist temples, it said.

Chiang, on the other hand, is a puppeteer who has performed glove puppetry in Taiwan for 70 years.

The artist has accumulated a rich array of skills, including variations in narration and voice, and developed her own unique signature style, according to the ministry. She also founded the Jin Kwei Lo Puppetry Company.

Cheng is a skilled Hakka bayin master who learned the craft from his grandfather. He is also the founder of the Rom Shing Hakka Opera Troupe, the ministry said.

Bayin, which literally translates as eight notes, refers to the eight materials used to make instruments -- metal, stone, string, bamboo, fruit shells, earthenware, animal hide, and wood.

The performances of Hakka bayin troupes involve a four-person group, with one playing the suona, a traditional Chinese wind instrument, two playing string instruments, and one playing percussion.

According to the ministry, the national living treasure designation recognizes individuals and groups for their role in preserving the nation's cultural heritage. As of the end of 2021, 59 individuals and groups have received this coveted title.

(By Wang Pao-erh and Ko Lin)

Enditem/AW

Yu Li-hai. Photo courtesy of the Ministry of Culture
Yu Li-hai. Photo courtesy of the Ministry of Culture
Chiang Shi-mei. Photo courtesy of the Ministry of Culture
Chiang Shi-mei. Photo courtesy of the Ministry of Culture
Cheng Rom-shing. Photo courtesy of the Ministry of Culture
Cheng Rom-shing. Photo courtesy of the Ministry of Culture
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