Author and watercolorist Cheng Kai-Hsiang travels around Taiwan, painting over one hundred old street-facing shops and townhomes and learning their stories.
The Taiwanese townhome, like the machiya that once defined traditional downtown quarters in Japan, is a street-facing edifice that puts passersby and inhabitants in immediate proximity to one another. Once a popular venue for shops, some have also been transformed into modern homes. Enamored of their style and atmosphere, painter Cheng Kai-Hsiang tells their stories in ink and image.
With his quick-setup painting kit at his side, Cheng travels the whole of Taiwan to lay eyes on townhomes in many different cities. His brush captures the many eccentricities and delightful details of their architecture, including their signs, wares, and windows. Each of the one hundred paintings in the final book is accompanied by a detailed record of where the building is, when it was painted, and what else might be known about it.
Cheng’s meticulous record-keeping and eye for captivating detail make this beautiful book of interest to both the casual tourist and the historian. He presents the Taiwanese townhome so vividly that readers can almost feel the air and hear the downtown sounds around them as they look through the grand windows of these icons of grassroots Taiwanese culture.