Lin Leng-yuan, owner of Laoyifong Incense Shop in central Taiwan’s Changhua County, is one of the few craftspeople in the nation still making incense by hand. (Chin Hung-hao)
- Taiwan is the center of the Mandarin
pop music industry.
- National Palace Museum in Taipei City
houses one of the largest collections of
ancient Chinese artifacts in the world.
Taiwan is renowned for its fascinating blend of traditional and
modern culture. To showcase the nation’s history and cultural
diversity, museums have been established across Taiwan,
including National Palace Museum, National Taiwan Museum,
National Museum of History, National Museum of Prehistory,
National Museum of Taiwan History, National Museum of
Taiwan Literature and National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts.
Taiwan also has performance venues nationwide, including
National Theater and Concert Hall, National Taichung Theater,
National Kaohsiung Center for the Arts (Weiwuying) and
Taiwan Traditional Theater Center. Traditional architecture
abounds, not only in the country’s magnificent monuments
such as temples and official residences, but also in the many
old structures that have been revitalized for use as community centers, cafes, stores and other public spaces. In fact, many aspects of traditional Chinese arts, crafts and customs are better preserved in Taiwan than anywhere else. For example, Taiwan is one of the few places still using traditional Chinese characters, and calligraphy competitions are always popular events.
Traditional tenets of Buddhism, Confucianism and Taoism continue to be well represented in everything from temple celebrations and literature to the visual and performing arts. In addition, visitors can learn about the heritages of the country’s Hakka, Holo and indigenous peoples. Taiwan also shares its cultural riches throughout the world via programs such as the Taiwan Academy resource centers.
At the same time, Taiwan’s larger cities are thriving metropolises that offer 24/7 entertainment options. There are highly regarded modern dance troupes, as well as a vibrant music scene, which is hardly surprising as Taiwan is the world capital of Mandopop, or Mandarin pop music. The local television and film sector has seen a resurgence in recent years, while the country’s booming cultural and creative industries are evident in the many designer stores, markets and exhibitions that are growing in number every year.
From literary arts and folk festivals to the lively atmosphere of night markets, Taiwan’s traditions are closely intertwined with everyday life, adding to a thriving culture in which the past gives vitality and depth to the present.
Hand-painted religious lanterns are the stock in trade of 150-year-old family business Senxing in western Taiwan’s Yunlin County. (Chin Hung-hao)