Mon, Feb 27, 2006 - Page 2 News List

Exhibit offers look at doing business in an earlier era

By Mo Yan-chih  /  STAFF REPORTER

In modern Taiwan, old-fashioned businesses offering such services as the removal of facial hair or umbrella repairs are disappearing.

But through the works of 22 Taiwanese artists in an exhibition titled "Business from Old Taiwan -- The Artist's View," a glimpse of more than 30 businesses from the nation's old economy could be seen yesterday at the Taipei Story House.

Images of some of the tools, products and services of the businesses that played an important role in the nation's economic development in the 1950s and 1960s -- ranging from pictures of popcorn carts, to old dime stores and shoe shiners -- are displayed on the walls.

Works of art that incorporate the ribs of umbrellas, and paintings of the old businesses also tell the story of a simpler time and an earlier phase of the country's development.

At the opening ceremony for the exhibition, Taipei Mayor Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) lauded the exhibition for revitalizing the history of such businesses.

"When I was a kid, all my school uniforms and sweaters were either made or modified by my mother. Seeing this reminds me of previous times," Ma said yesterday while examining a model of a sewing machine at the exhibition.

Ma also expects the house to continue to tell more old stories in a creative way.

Established three years ago, the Taipei Story House is the former Yuanshan Villa, which was constructed in 1913 by a rich tea merchant from Taipei's Dadaocheng district as a meeting place for high society gentlemen and a recreational spot for members of the owner's family.

The villa was listed by the Taipei City Government as a Class III historical site in 1998 and was remodeled to become the Taipei Story House.

The inaugurator of the house, Chen Kuo-tzu (陳國慈) said that it has become a new attraction in the city and draws about 100,000 visitors every year.

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