Taipei's paper and puppet museums

Posted on April 14, 2013 by Toothpicker There have been 0 comments

There are many arts and crafts museums in Taipei but I found these two museums particularly unique and charming, especially for those who are interested in traditional arts and crafts. Suho memorial paper museum is located in a busy business district and can be easily missed, but once inside, the museum has a tranquil quality that is hard to find elsewhere.

Like the Japanese, the Taiwanese are very fond of paper, and this museum is dedicated to the memory of Su Ho Chen, the founder of Chang Chuen Cotton Paper, whose dream was to establish a museum devoted to paper.

 

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My favourite spot: the tranquil bamboo hut on the roof top

 

The architects and curators have done a splendid job in converting a long narrow 4-storey old building into a multi purpose space without feeling cramped. On the ground floor, there is a mini paper factory and a wonderful shop selling a variety of paper products, stationery and books. The permanent and temporary exhibition area is located on the next two floors, but my favourite is the rooftop where all the DIY paper workshop and other cultural activities take place. I was so pleasantly surprised when I discovered this indoor bamboo hut opposite the paper workshop, as I stepped inside, I immediately felt calm and I couldn't help but meditated for a little while...

 

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Left: Love the exhibit outside of the toilets: The culture of cleaning. Right: My DIY scrap book!

 

Soon it was time for the paper-making workshop, with an extra NT$80 ( less than £2), I was given an opportunity to make a beautiful piece of paper with small flowers. After it was dried, they gave me the handmade paper, which came with a cute paper-making workshop certificate! Also, visitors are encouraged to make their own scrapbook by the paper, strings and stamps provided... a nice touch!

The museum's small shop itself is worth the trip for paper lovers, it stocks very unique paper-related products including vintage diaries published by Chang Chuen Cotton Paper. A few shops down the street is another paper shop that sells a variety of handmade paper and stationery which is also worth visiting.

 

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A small but informative and wonderful museum full of surprises!

 

Near the river in an old Taipei district is where another wonderful but quirky puppetry museum is located. The Lin Liu-Hsin Puppet Theatre Museum was established by The Taiyuan Arts and Culture Foundation and it has its own in-house troupe that give performances at home and abroad.

With an even more difficult task than the Su Ho Museum, architects and curators had to fit an incredible amount of information and props into a historcial and narrow building with steep staircases, and result is quite fascinating. Although slightly cramped, they have done an amazing job in utilising every space available... with the help of strong graphics/ colours and partitions.

 

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This 4-story museum has permanent and temporary exhibitions on Taiwanese, Chinese and foreign puppetry with interesting history and facts displayed in a creative way. On the ground floor, there is a small shop and an open workshop for visitors to see how puppets are made. Again, my favourite spot is the top floor where visitors can experience what "hell" is like according to the Chinese traditions and customs!

The museum also has a mini-theatre where regular performances are being held and a roof-top with a wooden water theatre where visitors can try out Vietnamese water puppetry themselves! Cool!

This museum is not only about preserving traditional Taiwanese heritage, it also pays tribute to a traditional craft and historical entertainment that is slowly dying... By supporting these museums and craftsmen, we can keep these traditions and crafts alive, allow them to integrate with new ideas and evolve into a new art form that will appeal to the younger generation.

 

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This post was posted in Travel, Paper art & craft, Traditional arts & crafts, Puppetry, Taipei and was tagged with paper craft, puppetry, traditional crafts, Taipei

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