Fri, Oct 18, 2013 - Page 3 News List

Taoyuan County counts on duck to float pond fest

Staff writer, with CNA

Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman’s Rubber Duck inflatable sculpture that has drawn more than 3 million admirers in Greater Kaohsiung since going on display there three weeks ago is expected to set off a new round of “Rubber Duck fever” at a landscape festival in Taoyuan County that opens on Saturday next week. A new version of the 18m tall duck will roost in a 260,000m2 pond, Taoyuan County official Wu Li-chu (吳麗珠) said.

The match should be refreshing, as it mixes Western art and Taoyuan’s unique pond-dotted landscape, which has given the county its nickname of the “Land of a Thousand Ponds,” she said.

The variety, quantity and sizes of ponds on the Taoyuan plains give the county a landscape like few other places on Earth, Wu said.

Unlike its sibling in the south, the duck in Taoyuan will not use an interior prop stand to keep it upright, Wu said. It will be strengthened with a lining formed by hundreds of pieces of reinforced polyvinyl chloride to help it withstand strong seasonal winds from the northeast, she added.

“It will not only be a world-class duck — it will reflect the spirit of local Hakka residents, who are hardworking and never give up,” Wu said.

The county also hopes that the duck can build awareness of wetlands, Wu said.

With about 2,800 ponds remaining, the Ministry of Culture has designated the county’s landscape as a potential World Heritage site.

Wu said that the ponds, which have been used for irrigation, recreation and wildlife conservation since the 18th century, have brought the county major economic benefits and created a cultural legacy, including the worship of water-related deities, making them important to preserve.

The landscape festival, which will run until Nov. 10, will also feature creative installations in the ponds from Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama and South Korean artist Choi Jeong-hwa. The festival is expected to attract more than 1.5 million visitors, Wu said.

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