The Magician of Time: Monument Restoration

          Have you ever wondered, what significance do monuments really have to you, me, and even the society as a whole? For most people, monuments are locations that are ideal for vacations and sightseeing, or even the subjects of artistic and cultural appreciation! Besides of these basic usages, ancient architectures and artifacts are indeed precious elements of the cultural heritage of the world. From a single brick to a magnificent masterpiece, every detail of monuments reveals the determination and wisdom of our ancestors. Just merely staring at these glorious works provides one with tangible awe and inspiration. Therefore, it could be concluded that monuments are important locations that preserve the sentiments and emotions of our nation’s history everlastingly for us to treasure and study. Although monuments may seem like some obsolete encumbrances that take up massive lands, they reflect the most traditional and ancient beauty of Taiwanese heritage and additionally serve as the manifestations of the passing of time. Regardless of the splendour of these buildings, time slowly steals away their brilliance without the knowledge of the public and causes their grandeur to gradually fade away.  As time progresses, monument restorers contribute their intense efforts in presenting history in a freshened, refurbished appearance in front of society, enabling the beauty and greatness of the old times to be treasured everlastingly.

      Using the newest technology available, monument restorers combine contemporary elements and traditional methods to restore the glory of the shabby ancient architectures. While monument restoration might seem like a dreamy matter, such superlative workmanship involved makes it a profound profession. From related regulations to monument preservation, everything about this interesting field is perfectly done by the earnest restorers. Every single brick of the restoration project displays the infinite respect and responsibility of the monument restorers toward history. Recently, more and more scholarly and non-governmental organizations started to join the movement of restoring ancient monuments though a myriad of ways, including provide subsidies, contribute to the labor force, or simply giving professional instructions. Even though all of these organizations have different backgrounds and incentives, they all bear a common objective: to let the ancient beauty of Taiwan resurface, and to let the brilliance of these monuments shine forever. Our project covers every single unique aspect of monument restoration, such as the classification of monuments, description of all related organization, and the selection of building materials. Through the implementation of the internet and interviews with professionals, our team aims to provide the global community a detailed introduction to the field of monument restoration. By doing so, not only could the world see the traditional beauty of Taiwan, society would also have a better understanding on these silent revivers of history in our daily lives.

(The monument “Chen Clan Ancestral Hall” preparing for restoration)

(A monument restoration repaints on an ancient artwork which colors have faded away)

    As quoted by the Chinese literature professional Xin-shan Zhao, “History is like a mirror, which reflects the present and lights up the future.” However, as the society changes and technology advances, people tend to focus only  on the present and the future, as if they have completely forgotten the valuable ancient assets and the history that our ancestors lived through. As a matter of fact, history shares several intimate ties with our daily lives. From the Taiwanese Presidential Palace built in 1919 to the Ximen Red House Theater built in 1908, the brilliant Taiwanese culture and history is conveyed through several precious historical sites. As a result, these monuments enable the research of the cultural heritage of our country to be more effective and efficient. When we realized this phenomenon we involuntarily started a contemplative discussion. If all of the cultural  monuments are subjects to the deadly grasp of the passing of time, who is the one that repairs the beauty and preserves the colorful appearance of the faded history? Guided by curiosity, we felt tempted to further investigate the field of monument restoration. Through the usage of interviews and online research, our team aims to provide a detailed report of monument restoration to the global and the national community. As time silently passes by, the hardworking monument restorers devote their entire lives into the preservation of the beauty of history, like magicians, repairing the faded glory of the ancient monuments. Even though these heroes indeed have a huge impact in our society, they often choose to remain silent and never flaunts their fantastic acomplishments. When the world improves, history not only reflects the foundations of society but also displays the roots of the people. Therefore, through the opportunity of participating in the international CyberFair, our team wishes that the traditional splendour of Taiwan can be seen by the global community so that not only the general public can have more understanding on monument restoration but also that the beauty of the past can be everlastingly preserved.

(A monument restorer resting on the roof of the monumental building of the Women’s Federation)

Introduction to Professional

         Wu Jiang Fu has already been in the field of monument restoration for 15 years. Early in his childhood, his family ran a lumber company, thus generating a deep connection with construction in his young heart. At the time, wood was commonly used in monument restoration, which was closely related to his family business. Therefore, Wu’s family decided to venture off into the field of monument restoration in 1999. Today, Wu is the vice manager of the Zhong Huang Construction Company, which has repaired 19 monuments ever since its establishment. From all of the accomplishments, the work that Wu is the proudest of is the 12 displaying tunnels at the Taipei Beimen MRT station. He believe that these tunnels are his greatest feat because they are located at the bustling center of the Taipei city. These tunnels enable people to clearly see the remains of the ancient Walls of Taipei, thereby contributing to the cultural heritage of the nation as a whole.

Item Restoration History Types Era
1 Hsinchu City Confucius Temple Refurbishment Project Temple Complex Qing Dynasty
2 Chunghwa County Tiger Mountain Rocks (Grade 3 monument) Refurbishment Project Temple Complex Qing Dynasty
3 New Taipei City Shisanhang Archaeological Preserves (Grade 2 monument) Refurbishment Project Prehistoric remains Prehistoric period
4 New Taipei City Yonghe Wang Xi (City-designated monument) Residence Refurbishment Project Japanese-style architecture Japanese Occupation
5 New Taipei City Hobe Fort (Grade 2 monument) Refurbishment Project Militaristic building Qing Dynasty
6 Taipei City Long An Po Huang Zhai Lian Rang Residence (City-designated monument), Refurbishment Project Ancient accommodation complex Qing Dynasty
7 Hsinchu County Hukou Sanyuan Temple (County-designated monument) Refurbishment Project Temple Complex Qing Dynasty
8 New Taipei City Ding Tai Rocks (Grade 3 monument) Refurbishment Project Temple Complex Qing Dynasty
9 New Taipei City Rueifang Sihjiaoting Fort (City-designated monument) Refurbishment Project Militaristic Building Japanese Occupation
10 New Taipei City Xindian Barrier Defense Line (City-designated monument) Refurbishment Project Militaristic Building Japanese Occupation
11 New Taipei City Historical Construction Company Tian Xi Chen Clan Ancient Historical House Refurbishment Project Ancient House Complex Qing Dynasty
12 Taipei Ciyun Temple (City-designated monument) Refurbishment Project Temple Complex Qing Dynasty
13 Taipei Main Post Office Outer Walls (City-designated monument) Refurbishment Project Japanese-Western-styled Architecture Japanese Occupation
14 Hsinchu County Xinpu Chen Clan Ancestral Hall (County-designated monument) Refurbishment Project Temple Complex Qing Dynasty
15 New Taipei City British-Qing Business Building Refurbishment Project Western-styled Architecture QingDynasty
16 Taipei MRT Songshan line CG590A section Beimen (G14) station ancient construction materials reuse project Displaying Remains Qing Dynasty
17 Taoyuan County Mazu Village refurbishment project Militaristic Building R.O.C
18 Taipei Women’s Federation Building (City-designated monument) Refurbishment Project Militaristic Building Japanese Occupation
19 Taipei City Ximen Red House Octagonal House (City-designated monument) Refurbishment Project Japanese-Western-styled Architecture Japanese Occupation

          Before a monument can be restored, city/county governments and other related organizations would first draft an investigational plan to research on the original construction materials and the history of the monument. After a construction company adopts the project, it has to send a detailed reconstruction report to the government. Last but not least, the company has to provide a report on the materials, labor, capital, and other resources used during reconstruction project to the city/county governments as a record for future reconstruction projects to take advice from.

          Even after a reconstruction project is done, monuments still require intense preservation methods to be carried out. When governments notice any damage to the buildings, related organizations would be signaled to conduct emergency reconstructional work.

          Jiang Fu Wu believes that monument restoration can be explained through the usage of the analogy of time traveling. To repair every project, monument restorer has to travel to time to when the monument was constructed. Through information available in the present and archaeological evidence, monument restorers have to determine what materials are the most suitable for restoration. Incorporating the newest technology, monument restorers are able to freeze time and refurbish the glory of history. We hopes to further organize the methods and accomplishments of monument restoration for the future generation to learn and take advice from. By doing so, the beauty of history could be preserved everlastingly.

No.800, Huacheng Rd., Xindian Dist.,

New Taipei City 231, Taiwan