Tainan Art History
Caption: Lin Yu-Shan, Great South Gate, 1927, from the catalogue of the 1st Taiten.
This painting by Lin Yu-Shan (1907-2004) was selected into the Toyoga (Japanese-style painting) Division of the 1st Taiten (Taiwan Art Exhibition) in 1927. In his article, “Talks about the Vicissitudes of Art” (藝道話滄桑), Lin mentions that this work is a painting on silk and depicts the scenery of Tainan, which is probably the landscape near the South Gate. In the foreground, a water buffalo was grazing, and in the background, the South Gate looks covered in weeds, perhaps having been neglected for a long time. The tree leaves, the grassland, and the architecture are finely delineated, demonstrating Lin’s ideas and techniques of painting from life. The painting features the “image of the south” in Taiwan – an expression of the local colors. The Taiwan Nichi Nichi Shinpo (Taiwan Daily News) of 1927 stated that “Lin Ying-Kui (林英貴)…paints the mother water buffalo and her calf, capturing their essence with great details. Great South Gate (大南門), in comparison, is slightly inferior. One of the reason is that it looks like a painting from life mixed with the Nanga (南畫) style, or a Nanga-style painting without the rendering of colors.” Lin Ying-Kui is the given name of Lin Yu-Shan. Based on this newspaper passage, it can be inferred that Lin’s Water Buffaloes (水牛) was also selected, which greatly captured the essence of the subject, but Great South Gate was not as good, indicating Lin’s techniques of painting from life were not as mature. As a student, Lin served under the official clerk Sikou Isaka (伊坂旭江), and studied Han learning, calligraphy, ink painting, Nanga painting, and concepts of painting from life with Isaka. Later, Lin traveled to Japan and studied painting at Kawabata Painting School (川端畫學校), and eventually shifted to Eastern arts. (Peng Wei-Chen)
Lin, Yu-Shan. “Talks about the Vicissitudes of Art.” Taipei Cultural Relics, vol. 3, no. 4 (1995.3.5), p. 77.
Lin, Shiang-Chin. “An Analysis on the Collective Memory of Lin Yu-Shan’s Paintings from the Perspective of Cultural Hegemony.” Journal of Taiwan Museum of Art, no. 107 (2017.1), p. 1-34.
Liu, Chi-Yu. Great South Gate. Missing Pieces: Taifuten Historical Archives. http://taifuten.com/oblect/大南門/#squelch-taas-toggle-shortcode-content-2 (Viewed on 2023.8.15).