Bricks from a demolished historical estate in Tainan have been used to make pottery glaze for charitable causes and to promote local art and crafts, Shanhua District Administrator Lee Huang-hsing (李皇興) said.
On Dec. 4 last year the estate of historical figure Chen Tzu-yung (陳子鏞) in Shanhua District (善化) was demolished, despite the Tainan City Government designating the ruins as a provisional cultural heritage site.
The city’s Cultural Affairs Bureau made the designation two days prior to the demolition.
Later, local conservationists asked the Shanhua District Office to think of a way to preserve the Chen estate in spirit using the bricks, which they said still possessed cultural value.
Lee said his office has been promoting pottery arts and crafts in the district, and said the bricks could be used.
Following a long period of experimentation, Huang Yi-wen (黃怡文), a professional pottery artist enlisted by the office to help with the project, developed a red glaze from the bricks that could be applied to ceramics, Lee said.
Huang conducted about 100 experiments to create a working formula to produce the glaze and a technique for applying it, Lee said.
The glaze’s red color — which comes from the bricks’ iron content — is a fitting representation of Chen’s “hot blood” in his passionate resistance against Japanese colonialism, Lee said.
Historians say that Chen raised a local force using his own money to defend Tainan against the invading Japanese imperial army in 1895 at the end of the First Sino-Japanese War.
Shanhua District Home for Arts and Crafts, a communal pottery workshop, was established by the office on the site of the former Tianliao Community Activities Center, which had become idle following construction of a new community center in 2013, Lee said.
A charitable sale of pottery at the workshop is to raise money for the Huashang Social Welfare Foundation, Lee said, adding that many pottery associations use the workshop to market their products.
A portion of the proceeds are to be donated to a charitable cause the office works with, he said.
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