Magazine, December 2002
Yi: Taiwan's woodcarving mecca
Niang Chen, translated by Christine Wang
Get off the freeway
at the San Yi (Sani) exit ramp, turn right onto Taiwan provincial
Route 13 and Jian Fung Gung Road, and you will find yourself
on Shuei Mei Road--the heart of Taiwan's home of woodcarving.
striding down the street, gentle breezes waft the aroma
of wood from the perfectly-aligned wood-sculpture shops
on both sides, filling the atmosphere with a sweet fragrance.
The wide selection of items sold in these shops includes
household items from spoons, chopsticks and floor mats,
to various Buddhist statues, different styles of wooden
massage tools, peg tops, swords and much more. All this
creates the anticipation of a treasure hunt for visitors.
Yi has become very well-known and popular as a wood
sculpturing village. This reputation is due to the significant
early processing of camphor wood in the area and an
appreciate for Taiwanese wood carving among the island's
previous Japanese colonial rulers. This helped trigger
a wood-sculpture market in Japan and set the foundation
for San Yi¡¦s current focus.
town's original woodcarving shop, Bai Ji Hang (tel. 037-872-023),
is on Jung Jeng Road and was established in 1920. Besides
exhibiting and selling its wood works, Bai Ji Hang is an
art collection information and communications center. Yet,
if you wish to find more professional wood sculpturing information,
the San Yi wood sculpturing museum in Kuang Sheng Shin Cheng
(tel. 037-876-009) is a fine alternative. In addition to
the museum, both sides of the street are filled with shops
that together have made Jung Jeng Road into a popular spot
all of the above-mentioned stores present only finished
works. If you wish to observe the amazing art of wood sculpturing,
follow Route 13 south to Diao Ke Nan Street, at the northern-most
part of the village. Here are more shops run by friendly,
hospitable wood-sculpturing masters.
to San Yi is the Hakka city of Miaoli. Consequently,
a taste of Hakka cuisine here has become a must for
tourists. The majority of restaurants are on Shuei Mei
Street. Jiou Ding Shiuan (tel. 037-875-366) sells Brown
Sugar Rice Pudding and "ai tsau ban", a Chinese
pastry made with herbs, while Da Fu Lou (tel. 037-875-923)
sells Large Intestines with Shredded Ginger as well
as Fried Radish Cake. Even more popular within the local
community is Ji Shiang Lo (tel. 037-857-923).
addition to San Yi's wood sculptures, the former Sheng Shing
train station, near an undeveloped forest area with gorgeous
scenery, has also become a hit. Furthermore, the Lung Teng
Duan Bridge and neighboring Carp Reservoir are also both
in San Yi. During weekends and holidays, tourists often
park their cars and take the special tour bus. For those
who wish to experience the tranquility of this serene mountain
town, it may be wiser to come on a day when there are less
people, so you can fully enjoy the exquisite attractions
of San Yi.