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Passing through the Five Channels(National Museum of Taiwan Literature)

National Museum of Taiwan Literature
(1)
Tainan City
Culture
English

Introduction

In celebration of International Museum Day on May 18th, the National Museum of Taiwan Literature hosts a series of activities during its annual “Let’s Explore Literature on International Museum Day” event. From “A Map of Hsu Ping-ting’s Small Gods” to “Literary Walking Tours of Yeh Shih-Tao’s Works,” as well as other exploration-oriented events, the museum has invited all since 2011 to “walk and read” through Fucheng and unravel the city’s memories. Each event is later published into its own commemorative book.

For 2014, the Museum collaborated with the The Five Rivers Development Association of Tainan to coordinate the walking tour “Passing through the Five Channels Port.” A number of sites within the Five Channels Port area, each rich in history, were chosen and paired with classical poems. Experts guided participants along a historical tour, traversing between the past and present of this unique place. Introductions to every site on the tour were compiled into the book, Passing through the Five Channels Port: Fucheng Literary Walking Tour Map 4 (《穿越五條港:府城文學踏查地圖4》), which was published in the same year.

The Five Channels Port was originally formed by the Taijiang Inner Sea as it silted up and created a branch of streams. Roughly speaking, the area is bound to the west of Xinmei Street and Ximen Road, to the south of Chenggong Street, and to the north of Zhongzheng Road. It later became Fucheng’s commercial port area. Going from south to north are the Anhai Port, Nanhe Port, Beishi Port (also known as the Nanshi Port), Fotou Port, and Xingangqian Port. The Museum selected the Five Channels Port area for its Fucheng literary walking tour was due in part to its significance as the city’s center of transport for foreign trade. Even more so, it was because of the plethora of shops, stalls, and warehouses, boasting everyday goods such as rice, sugar, and tea from both Taiwan and abroad. The area was also home to lumber-related industries. Though the harbor’s unique character has since disappeared following urban planning during the Japanese rule of Taiwan, it remains as Tainan’s most bustling area. The abundant folk culture and distinctive port landscapes of the Five Channels Port area have inspired many writers. The eateries and tea houses served as gathering places for the literati. Excerpts of the poems selected for the tour were taken from the Anthology of Taiwanese Poetry Volumes 1-30 and A Selection of Classical Taiwan Poetry Volume 1: Regions and Cities. West Tainan and the Five Channels Port were the subjects of a great deal of written works between the Qing Dynasty and the Japanese rule of Taiwan. They broadly covered four main aspects: local historical vestiges, trade and economy, families and clans, and scenes from everyday life. To complement each site, a total of 14 poems were selected. Each one is clear, easy to understand, and captures the former glory days of the Five Channels Port area. All are invited to partake in this historical and
literary pilgrimage to explore the settings of each and every poem.

This book is a compilation of written works selected from the Anthology of Taiwanese Poetry Volumes 1-30 and A Selection of Classical Taiwan Poetry Volume 1: Regions and Cities. Overall, they cover four main aspects: local historical vestiges, trade and economy, families and clans, and everyday life. To complement each site, 14 poems were selected. The poems are clear, easy to understand, and captures the former glory days of the Five Channels Port area. All are invited to partake in this historical and literary pilgrimage to explore the settings of each poem. If you wish to purchase this book, please visit the National Museum of Taiwan Literature’s website and select the “Where to Buy”tab under“Publications”: https://en.nmtl.gov.tw/content_112.html

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