Chiayi Stone Monkey
There are many painting artists originated from Chiayi, therefore, Chiayi has been recognized as “city of painting”. Also, Chiayi is the hometown of colored pottery, the so-called “consummate skill”, which shares recognizable reputation in Taiwan . Recently, Chiayi has discovered a new trait that is stone monkey, which is sculptured with various shellfish fossils from Pachong River . All of the stone sculptures look alive. Taochen stone monkeys represent Chiayi, which is the honor of Chiayi folks.
Chiayi is the hometown of stone monkey. There have been 60 years of history for the artists to create art works with stone monkeys. These art creators use all kinds of shellfish fossils originating from Pachong River , making impossible into miracle, who turn the plain original stones and fossils into unique arts. Through their dexterous hands, these artists sculptured the spirits, witty & elastic natures of the monkeys on their works. They present the feature of “returning to nature, revealing true affection” in their works, which becomes the one and the only trait of local trait – Chiayi stone monkeys.
Speaking of the history of the sculpture of Chiayi stone monkey, we can't forget “Dragon master – Zhan Long”. He was the one who first brought river stones of Pachong River into the arts palace of sculpture, innovating the creation fashions of Chiayi stone monkeys. Zhan Long was born in Dasi street of Nanmen, Chiayi city. Because he was imperceptibly influenced by what he constantly sees and hears when he was a child, he transferred from tomb stele work into stone monkeys creation; and he even made creation fashions a unique local trait of Chiayi. The glorious time for Zhan Long started in 1973, because he used a great quantity of shellfish fossils of Pachong River as materials of sculpture, and with his skillful sculpture techniques, his works are greatly accepted by Japanese. The demands for his works are more than creation. For this, more and more people join to do stone monkeys creation.
What is the most valuable is that since Zhan Long, the master of monkeys sculpture, most stone monkeys creators never accept academic training, they are called “Not Fancy Artists”. Persisting in enthusiasm and self-exploration on stone monkeys creation, striving for perfection, and consolidating the group of people's endeavors and quiet contributions, these artists finally create some arts characteristic of “stone monkeys world”.
Holding the mission of “managing art assets, standing out local traits”, the Cultural Affairs Bureau of Chiayi City has begun to organize “outdoor creation exhibition of Chiayi stone monkeys” staring 1998. The bureau invites these “not fancy artists” creating works onsite, allowing the public to appreciate how these “not fancy artists” turn the “stubborn stones” into witty and elastic “stone monkeys”. Citizens can also better understand profound humanity features of Chiayi.