400 years of “voc” at Tainan art museum

“Deer Rug” a part of “VOC, Sea Monsters, Artillery Fire, and Them: 400 Years of Fort Zeelandia” at Tainan Art Museum

“Deer Rug” is an animal hide composed of air-dried banana peels that resembles the Taiwanese Sika deer. I created it at the same time as my “Tropical Collection” (2016) during my residency at the Fukuoka Asian Art Museum. Deerskin is one of the earliest Taiwanese exports and reflects the life, production, and trade patterns of various ethnic groups in and around Formosa Island during the Maritime age. 

During the 17th century, Formosa had an abundance of deerskins. The aboriginal people were excellent hunters and traded the deerskins with the Han and the Dutch for cloth, agate, salt, and other items. The deerskins were exported by the Dutch to Japan in large numbers and were a major commodity at the time. The Japanese used them to make the traditional jacket (“haori”) for samurais. Bananas, on the other hand, are a major Taiwanese export in modern times. They were exported in large numbers to Japan between 1950 and 1970. However, due to political factors and outbreak of Panama disease, the Taiwanese bananas in Japan were replaced by those from the Philippines. Therefore, considering the time spanning the exports of deerskins and bananas, this work represents the long-standing trade partnership between Taiwan and Japan.

Venue: Tainan Art Museum
From March 28, 2024 till June 16, 2024
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