Established just a week ago, the 1,000-ping (approx. 3,300m2) Museum of Chinese Characters in downtown Greater Tainan is currently showing the exhibition The Creation and Memory of Chinese Characters. Though Chinese characters might seem natural enough to Chinese-speaking people, the exhibition is aimed at revitalizing their passion for Chinese characters so that they will not only have a communicative function. Using modern ideas, multimedia technology and installation art, the exhibition gives people a chance to rediscover the art of Chinese characters, which with their history spanning thousands of years remain inspiring today.
Aesthetician Chiang Hsun once said, “Writing Chinese characters is the truest ritual when I want to spend time with myself.” Chinese characters have been passed down through the generations for thousands of years. Created based on the six principles of character formation — pictographic representation, ideographic representation, ideographic compounding, phono-semantic compounding, metaphorical extension and phonetic loan — they are filled with aesthetic beauty and continue to amaze people by their versatility. Visitors go beyond their normal role and are made a part of this exhibition through an interactive multimedia experience. After all, characters are a form of communication between people; therefore, interaction is one of the museum’s key missions.
Founded by Nan-Ying Culture and Education Foundation President Lee Chuan-chiao, the museum has a dozen exhibition areas. One of the areas is the high-ceilinged “Time Theater,” which uses a traditional Chinese architectural concept called “round heaven, square earth” to manifest the roundness of flowing Chinese characters and the stability and balance of their squareness. Exhibits on different themes ranging from history to the future are spread out over the museum’s different exhibition areas. Exhibitors include Ultra Combos, Wang Hsin-yi, Huang Ya-ling + Titow, Saito + Ishizawa, Code Garden, Tsai Yu, Wang Yen-chung, OVO and Pong Lam.
1. revitalize v.
重燃 (chong2 ran2)
例: After languishing at the bottom of the league for several years, the club was revitalized by its new coach.
2. passed down v. phr.
傳承 (chuan2 cheng2)
例: This recipe has been passed down in our family for several generations.
3. mission n.
宗旨 (zong1 zhi3)
例: The company’s mission is to sell one toothbrush to every person in China.
Lin Ping-hung, the foundation’s executive director, said in a telephone interview with the Taipei Times last Tuesday that incorporating art, creative groups and technology has given the museum a multifunctionality that allows it to be used by art and literary circles in the hope of consolidating emerging creative forces in southern Taiwan. In line with the headline on the museum’s Web site, “A character is cherished even deeper once you understand it,” the museum will be holding hands-on workshops and lectures to give visitors an in-depth understanding of Chinese characters. The exhibition will run through the end of February next year.
(LIN YA-TI, TAIPEI TIMES)