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Taiwan Travels: Finding Patterns in Art and Nature

April 08, 2016 1 min read

The National Palace Museum in Taipei, Taiwan, is one of the greatest treasure troves of Chinese art in the world. (Christine Lin/ Yun Boutique)

There are several good reasons why the Portuguese called Taiwan "Formosa," the Beautiful Isle: lush, rolling green hills thanks to its tropical marine climate; shimmering waters that produce a bounty of seafood; a gorgeously decorated temple at every turn, and shrines in even the smallest alley. 

Han Chinese settled in Taiwan during the Qing Dynasty, adding to the mix of aboriginal and Japanese (and Dutch and Portuguese) culture already present there.

I was lucky enough to witness the ways in which nature directly influences art and architecture on this charming island. No matter how brightly painted and stylized building facades are decorated, one can still tell that their forms were inspired by the vines and flowers native to the area. 

 The Confucius Temple in Taipei. (Christine Lin/Yun Boutique)
A stepped ceiling at the Confucius Temple.  (Christine Lin/Yun Boutique)
A lotus eave pendant is a common feature of Buddhist temples. (Christine Lin/Yun Boutique)
These lantern eave pendants are more common in folk or Taoist temples. (Christine Lin/Yun Boutique)
Lily pads and duckweed in a roadside pond garden. Taiwanese are avid gardeners, no matter how limited the space. (Christine Lin/Yun Boutique)
A vine-and-cloud pattern door panel. (Christine Lin/Yun Boutique)
It's a lot more fun to watch incense burn when it's in the shape of a labyrinth. (Christine Lin/Yun Boutique)
Nature's geometry. (Christine Lin/Yun Boutique)
Birds frolic among plants on a gilt door panel. (Christine Lin/Yun Boutique)
Gently rounded doorways create striking frames for gorgeous courtyards. (Christine Lin/Yun Boutique)
A doorway in the shape of a vase (ping) evokes the saying "May peace (ping) be with you as you come and go." (Christine Lin/Yun Boutique)
Produced and edited by Christine Lin. 

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