Ilha Formosa
January 12, 2008 9:40 AM   Subscribe

"The Gerald Warner Taiwan Image Collection is a photographic record of a US consul's impressions of urban and rural life in Taiwan under Japanese colonial rule. Totaling 340 photographs and postcards gathered by Warner between August 26, 1937 and March 8, 1941, these images provide a snapshot of Taiwan's hybrid culture of Chinese, Taiwanese, Austronesian, and Japanese influences." [Via]
posted by Abiezer (12 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
Wow, this is terrific. I love old photos in general, but having lived in Taiwan thirty years ago, I found this really fascinating. Taipei has changed so fast in the last few decades that these photos are completely unrecognizable—and it's hilarious that they consider this a "Bustling city street"! (I wish the modern street names had been added; how am I supposed to know what "Omotemachi St." is?)
posted by languagehat at 12:38 PM on January 12, 2008

Great, great post thanks. Best of the web!
posted by Rumple at 12:48 PM on January 12, 2008

Great stuff. I'm an expat, living here in Taiwan since 1987...and many of the old colonial buildings such as the presidential palace built by the Japanese shown in the photos are still standing.
posted by rmmcclay at 1:27 PM on January 12, 2008

Woa, very cool! Now all we need is some current expat to do a comparative photo essay of from today. That would be awesome!
posted by gemmy at 4:04 PM on January 12, 2008

Omotemachi Street is supposedly now Guan Qian/Kuan Chien street. That would put 38 Guan Qian right outside the north gate of the 2/28 Peace Park and Taiwan Museum. It makes sense; Guan Qian runs North/South, which corresponds with the mountain in the background of the original picture. The only current image I could find from right there is looking south, not north, but it's got some similar elements (two types of bikes) with the original photo. Flickr is down atm, so I couldn't look for geotagged photos there.

Also, there is the Kuan Chien Building, but I can't find the correct address for it, so I'm not sure if that's even close, or even if it's on the same street.
posted by gemmy at 5:29 PM on January 12, 2008

Thanks, very interesting pictures of aboriginal life . I wonder how much of that culture still exists?
posted by readery at 8:10 PM on January 12, 2008

Thanks for this.

Here is a flickr set of the Hshinying Sugar Tramway- now defunct.
posted by mattoxic at 4:59 AM on January 13, 2008

There's an interesting article about current Taiwanese nationalism in this weekend's FT.
posted by patricio at 10:07 AM on January 13, 2008

I've got a couple of pictures looking north on Guanqian Rd.
posted by Poagao at 8:29 PM on January 13, 2008

The Kuan Chien Building is definitely on Kuan Chien/Guanqian Rd. (I'm looking at it right now from my office window.) If Kuan Chien is the new Omotemachi, you'd never know it from looking at the picture. The only oldish building on the street now is the Land Bank, which is the building on the left in Poagao's photos.
posted by ultrogonic at 10:59 PM on January 13, 2008

Thanks, Poagao. I wonder if the Land Bank building isn't the building on the left if the original photo, with a re-done facade?

The outline of the buildings are the same. Compare the entrance and the windows and portico along the street. The height is about right too, compared with the height of the people in both shots. Too bad it's so overcast in Poagao's picture, it would be good to know if you could see the mountain in the background.
posted by gemmy at 10:46 AM on January 14, 2008

You can see the mountains on a nice day from there, but usually it's too smoggy.
posted by Poagao at 12:51 AM on January 17, 2008

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