Mon, May 01, 2017 - Page 3 News List

Mysterious stone stacks revealed to have prosaic origins

By Wang Hsiu-ting and Jake Chung  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

Liyuan Farm owner Liao Cheng-chung, right, balances stones at Luye Township in Taitung County on April 10.

Photo: Wang Hsiu-ting, Taipei Times

Mysterious stone stacks that appeared in the “Green Tunnel” near Taitung County’s Luye Township (鹿野) are the spontaneous designs of local residents, the Yongan Community Development Association has revealed.

The Green Tunnel is an avenue of interlocking foliage that extends for about 20m from the Wuling Bridge to the edge of Highway No. 9.

A man who frequently travels along the highway, who wished to only be identified as Wumi (烏米), said it was the first time he had seen so many stone stacks of different shapes by the side of a road, adding that they are “great creations.”

The lack of any explanation or plaques along the road added to visitors’ curiosity.

One passerby, surnamed Hsu (許), said that hikers would often stack stones, or tie a piece of rope on forked roads to indicate the correct path, but added that there were no forked roads near the stone stacks.

Another passerby, surnamed Chen (陳), said that at first glance she thought the stones were for a religious ritual, but that there were no other signs indicating that.

Other visitors emulated the stacks, even adding flourishes such as placing snail shells on top.

The Yongan Community Development Association Director-General Liao Chung-hsun (廖中勳) said the stone stacks lining the road were the “entirely spontaneous creations of community residents.”

According to Liao, Liyuan Farm owner Liao Cheng-chung (廖正忠) began the trend after visiting the Formosan sika deer park near Wuling Bridge.

About three years ago, Liao Cheng-chung said he suddenly had the urge to stack stones into piles whenever he was outdoors, whether on the mountain, by the sea or on the road.

He soon learned how to make higher stacks by balancing them according to their centers of gravity and began to create various shapes and designs, such as a seesaw, he said.

He loves to stack to stones by rivers, to contrast the flowing water with the stationary stones, he said.

He said he began to stack stones after helping to clean up the road, adding that other volunteers then followed suit.

All the stacks are finely balanced and impermanent, he said.

He said he is happy to see other stacks, which all display their creators’ creativity and that he expects the practice to continue for some time.

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