2012 New History
P. O. Box 1-44, Nankang, Taipei 11529, Taiwan, R. O. C.
02-2782-9555 # 226

Images of Cultural Identity in Colonial Taiwan:
From Huang Tushui’s Water Buffalo to Lin Yushan’s Home Series

Chuan-ying Yen

Institute of History and Philology, Academia Sinica

In 1926 Lin Yushan (b. 1907), a young art student from a mounting shop in Jiayi, encountered Huang Tushui (1895-1930), a famous sculptor from Taipei, in the art exhibition hall at Ueno Park in Tokyo. Both men were from colonial Taiwan, and although their backgrounds differed, Lin and Huang were both concerned with the expression of “local color” in order to succeed in art exhibitions. As early as 1923, Huang Tushui started a series life-scale sculptures and low relief panels of water buffalo. However, he turned away from realism and insisted on a refined lyrical expression of an idealized picture, such as “Southern Country,” before his death in 1930. Lin Yushan was skilled both in the meticulous, realistic approach of Nihonga and in the traditional painting style in Taiwan. In 1927-1928, his painting of water buffalo was well received by critics, but later in 1933-1936 he developed the motif of home villages into a series of large-scale screen paintings.  It is these latter pictures that demonstrate his ambition to recreate the quiet and refreshing landscape of southern Taiwan. With the outbreak of the Sino-Japanese War in 1937, the search for a new image of Taiwan was discouraged; instead, Lin turned again to simple plants and animals, though with an inevitable flavor of war–time tensions.


Keyword: cultural identity, local color, Lin Yushan, Huang Tushui, art exhibition