Sat, Dec 29, 2018 - Page 2 News List

Exhibition features huge collection of matchboxes

By Hung Mei-hsiu and Sherry Hsiao  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

Veteran Mang Fan-hsing, fourth left, poses for a photograph at an exhibition showcasing his collection of vintage matchboxes at the Hsinchu Military Dependents’ Villages Museum on Dec. 10.

Photo: Hung Mei-hsiu, Taipei Times

The Hsinchu Military Dependents’ Villages Museum is exhibiting a collection of 1,500 matchboxes assembled by 90-year-old veteran Mang Fan-hsing (孟繁興) over nearly 60 years.

The exhibition is divided into five sections — childhood memories, military memories, culture and history, social development and progress, and foreign designs.

In the childhood memories section, Mang has included matchboxes made for Tatung Co or weddings, or featuring animations.

The military memories section includes boxes from the Armed Forces Officers’ Club in Taipei and the Army Command Headquarters in Taoyuan, as well as ones with images of singer Teresa Teng (鄧麗君), who became known as the “sweetheart of the armed forces.”

The culture and history section features matchboxes printed with characters from the Romance of the Three Kingdoms (三國演義) and Dream of the Red Chamber (紅樓夢), as well as Peking opera masks, while the social development and progress section includes boxes from local businesses and restaurants to demonstrate the nation’s socioeconomic and cultural progress.

There are also matchboxes from 70 other nations, including the US, Italy and Spain.

Some highlights of the exhibition are boxes with images of the UN headquarters, Vatican City, World War II generals, former US president Barack Obama and actress Audrey Hepburn.

Mang has collected more than 3,600 matchboxes, Hsinchu Bureau of Cultural Affairs Deputy Director Lee Hsin-yao (李欣耀) said, adding that the images represent the flow of history.

The exhibition is like an extended historical film, Mang said, adding that everyone can find a historical figure or story from their generation in the images.

Mang said he hopes to eventually donate his collection to the Hsinchu City Government so that they can be regularly exhibited to evoke the public’s historical and cultural memory.

The exhibition ends in February.

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