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The Qi Dong Poetry Salon
The Qi Dong Poetry Salon

The Qi Dong Poetry Salon: An Oasis Feeding a Poetic Renaissance

Poetry is the crucible of a language. Poetry writing, reading, and interpretation into song are the heart of literature, and an important component of art in the lives of Taiwan’s people.

In 2009, the Taipei City Government’s Department of Cultural Affairs supervised the restoration of the Qidong St. Japanese Houses (located at Nos. 25 and 27, Jinan Rd. Sec. 2 in Taipei) at the behest of the Council for Cultural Affairs (which was promoted within the government hierarchy and renamed the Ministry of Culture in 2012). Upon the restoration’s completion, Minister of Culture Lung Yingtai rededicated the buildings as the Qi Dong Poetry Salon, as the restored buildings would henceforth serve as a home for literature in the bustling capital city. Renowned architect Ray Chen was commissioned to design a poetry salon within the buildings. The National Museum of Taiwan Literature was then selected to run the salon and curate exhibitions here.

The Poetry Leap project being carried out here will promote innovation and interaction from 2014 through 2016 thanks to the generous support of Globe Union Industrial Corp. Chairman Ouyoung Ming. Quoting Song Dynasty poet Zhu Xi’s “Reflections on Reading,” Minister Lung likened the MOC’s role to being that of a mirror, with corporate sponsorship’s being that of a rejuvenating flow of water.

Architectural Style

The Qi Dong Poetry Salon reflects both Japanese and Western architectural philosophies. Its hipped roof is covered with black, Japanese-style tiles, and the tips of the roof ridge end in Onigawara, a type of Japanese gargoyle. The interior contains a number of Japanese elements, including shoe cabinets, room dividers, alcoves, a study, shutter cases, sliding shutters, catering windows, a study, and sash windows.

Preservation of Cultural Assets

While Director of Cultural Affairs for the Taipei City Government in 2000, Lung Yingtai recognized the importance of preserving the Qidong St. Japanese Houses and their appertaining greenery, and began to lay out plans to this end. In December 2002, the residents of Xinfu Borough, which encompasses the structures, began their own preservation efforts, bidden only by a collective affinity with the buildings and a desire to give future generations the chance to experience and cherish them. In July 2006, the Taipei City Department of Cultural Affairs set aside the structures and their adjacent grounds as a conservation area. Work has proceeded since this time to conserve the structures and refurbish them in recognition of their being cultural assets.

Background

Qing Dynasty

Qidong Street was known during the Qing Dynasty this time as Sanbanqiao Street. During the reign of the Kangxi Emperor (1654-1722), it was a major thoroughfare linking Bangka (today’s Wanhua District) with Zhucuolun (today’s Zhonglun, a section of Songshan District), and Xikou (today’s Songshan District) with Jilong (today’s Keelung). At the time, it was mainly used to bring coal, rice, and other staples to urban residents. The area was at the time known as Sanbanqiao Village, and was one of 16 villages in Tamsui District.

Era of Japanese Colonization

The buildings that today make up the Qi Dong Poetry Salon were constructed between 1920 and 1940 as residences for officials under the Governor-General’s Office. Those toward the south, at Jinan S. Rd. Sec. 2, served as housing for officials of the Governor-General’s Office and the Japanese military. These were constructed in 1935. Those northward, on Qidong St., were constructed in 1940 for low-ranking officials. The latter stand out as typical of official residences built toward the end of Japanese colonization.

Republic of China Period

Following the restoration of Taiwan to Republic of China control, the government used these buildings as official residences. The building at No. 27, Jinan S. Rd. was the home of Major General Wang Shu-ming, Air Force Deputy Commander in Chief, who lived in the residence until 1992. In 2006, the Taipei City Government set aside the structures and their adjacent grounds as a conservation area.

Hours

Tue.-Sun. 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., Closed Mondays

Exhibition Hall address
Qi Dong Poetry Salon No. 25, Jinan S. Rd. Sec. 2 (near the intersection with Jinshan S. Rd.)

Tel: (02) 2327-9657

How to get here:
MRT: Zhongxiao Xinsheng Sta. Exit 6, turn right onto and walk along Jinan S. Rd. Sec. 2
Bus: 211, 222, 665 to the Jinan Rd. at Jinshan Rd. Stop.

 
Opening Hours
Tues. to Sun.
from 9:00 to 18:00
Free Admission
Address
No.1, Zhongzheng Rd., West Central District, Tainan City 700, Taiwan (R.O.C.)
Tel
(+886) 6-221-7201
E-mail
service@nmtl.gov.tw
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