Last Saturday, the exhibition Once Upon a Time in Taiwan -- Daily Life in 17th Century Taiwan Under Dutch Rule got underway at the CKS Gallery of the CKS Memorial Hall. This is the last leg of a tour that has already taken it through nine counties and cities since it opened in Nov. 2004. The exhibition, designed by Robin Ruizendaal and supported by the Council of Cultural Affairs and the Dutch Trade Office, is aimed at a family audience, and is an excellent introduction the complex, multicultural environment of Taiwan in the 17th century.
The exhibition is designed as a series of modular units to facilitate the repeated disassembly and assembly in a variety of different exhibition spaces around the island. Each unit deals with a separate aspect of culture and society in Taiwan under Dutch rule, ranging from the ships that the Dutch traveled on, the homes of Dutch, Chinese and Aboriginal residents of the island, the marketplace, the schools and the administrative apparatus.
Many objects of daily life, from clothing, utensils and crafts are displayed in this context, and the subjects of architecture, food, education, medical care and religion are all dealt with through accessible text displays, and there are plenty of items that children can come directly to grips with -- clambering around the confined spaces of the Dutch ship and peering over the cannon, for example.
The exhibition in Taipei will run until June 25, after which many of the displays, which have been provided by the Dutch Trade Office, will be donated for inclusion into the permanent collection of the yet to be completed National Museum of History in Tainan.
The CKS Gallery is located under the CKS Memorial Hall. The exhibition space is open between 9am and 6:30pm daily. Admission is free.