Taiwanese paper lantern master honored with Soul of the Craftsman award 新竹市花燈大師蕭在淦 獲頒文總「匠人魂」錦旗

Wed, Feb 12, 2020 - Page 14

Hsiao Tsai-kan is the first resident of Hsinchu City to receive a ceremonial “The Soul of the Craftsman” award from the General Association of Chinese Culture. Hsiao, who has 80 years of experience crafting paper lanterns, was presented the award by Hsinchu Mayor Lin Chih-chien at a ceremony held by the association last week. A specially-produced short film featuring Hsiao, entitled “Heartfelt prayers come true,” premiered at the ceremony. The film is the 21st installment in the “The Soul of the Craftsman” series of short films.

The 94-year-old Hsiao is regarded as a national treasure in Taiwan and continues to craft exquisitly-made lanterns. He has received a large number of awards for his work and his lanterns have previously featured in exhibitions overseas. A collection of Hsiao’s lanterns are currently on display at Du Cheng Huang Temple as part of this year’s Lantern Festival.

In the film, which was produced by the association, Hsiao describes how, as a child, he would watch his elderly relatives make paper lanterns. Once grown up, Hsiao had acquired the skill and was propelled to fame after entering a paper lantern competition. Hsiao went on to win awards for his works year after year.

Hsiao says that in the early years he enjoyed making “three mythical creatures” — dragons, phoenixes and unicorns, but later on started to incorporate social stories into his lantern making. Hsiao says he hopes his lanterns can help bring to life these tales from the past.

Hsiao was born in Hsinchu in 1927. From an early age he enjoyed playing with traditional children’s toys and as a teenager, Hsiao began to learn the skill of making paper lanterns. Hsiao scooped first prize at the Hsinchu Du Cheng Huang Temple Lantern Completion three years on the trot between 1991 and 1993, earning a spot on the temple’s coveted Kinmen Honor Board.

Hsiao went on to receive awards at many other paper lantern competitions up and down the country, and was even invited to exhibit his works in Europe, the US and Canada, elevating Hsiao to the status of a “national treasure.”

(Translated by Edward Jones, Taipei Times)

新竹市首位獲中華文化總會頒「匠人魂」錦旗的蕭在淦,擁有八十年的花燈製作經歷,文化總會上週與市長林智堅頒發錦旗,並發表《匠人魂》系列第二十一部花燈篇「祈心成願」影片。

現年九十四歲的國寶級花燈燈藝師蕭在淦,堅持用雙手製作絢麗花燈,作品獲獎無數、更受邀到各國參展,且今年元宵節會在城隍廟展出。

文總製作的「祈心成願」影片,描述蕭在淦兒時看過長輩做花燈,長大後也習得這項技藝,並在競賽中一舉成名,年年得獎的紀錄。

蕭在淦說,早年喜歡糊「人間三奇」龍、鳳凰與麒麟,後來他也喜把社會故事糊成燈,希望透過花燈製作,有如述說歷史故事般。

蕭在淦一九二七年出生在新竹,從小喜歡接觸童玩物件,十幾歲就習得製作花燈的技藝。曾在一九九一到一九九三年連續三年拿下新竹都城隍廟花燈競賽首獎,獲贈都城隍廟之寶「金門保障」複刻版匾額一只。

後來更參加全國性比賽獲獎無數,且受邀到歐美、加拿大參展,成為台灣國寶級的花燈藝師。

(自由時報記者洪美秀)