The "Exhibition of Taiwan Beiguan Arts" curated by the National Center for Traditional Arts brings together some 350-plus valuable relics of Beiguan music from across Taiwan. As the biggest exhibition focused on Beiguan arts in recent times, it is slated for Dec. 7, 2019 through May 23, 2021 at the NCFTA's Yilan Park.
Visitors shall be able to see more than 350 precious Beiguan relics from across Taiwan, including nearly 100 pieces from the NCFTA's collection, among which are a large number of items generously donated by Yilan's Zonglan Society (總蘭社). Some 260 pieces have also been loaned out by 15 Beiguan societies, three public-sector archives, and several private collectors from around Taiwan. Without the assistance of all involved, Taiwan's largest Beiguan exhibition in recent years would not have been possible.
The exhibition is characterized by having the richest collection of items from the widest geographical area, covering the longest history, highlighting the finest craftsmanship, and encompassing the most valuable heritage items. It showcases the full scope of Taiwanese Beiguan arts, from plays, music, and temple array formations, to religious and community organizations, with iconic societies from seven cities and counties from across Taiwan (specifically Yunlin, Changhua, Taichung, Hsinchu, Taipei, Yilan, and Hualien) taking part to present their particular regional spins on the art through precious items rarely seen by the public eye.
The "amateurs" of the exhibition title "Diligent Amateurs, Great Passion: Exhibition of Taiwan Beiguan Arts" are those who voluntarily take part in Beiguan society performances, while their absolute commitment and deep-rooted attachment to the art are being honored with the "diligent" appellation.
Beiguan music is used in a wide variety of scenarios, from performances for deities, festivals, and rituals to big family events. Its public front — which is carried out by theatrical troupes, temple array groups, and folk organizations — is coupled with an internalization of faith, religion, and cultural rules, making Beiguan an encapsulation of the life philosophy and aesthetic tastes of the Taiwanese people. To capture this, the exhibition is made up of five elements covering the musical, theatrical, array-centric, religious, and societal aspects of the art.
The featured items are many and varied, including not only instruments and costumes of all kinds, but also a range of items associated with performances and a cornucopia of finely crafted, historically significant embroidered pennants and flags flown by troupes and societies. For example, one of the highlights of the exhibition include "The Embroidered Silk Lotus Mourning Flag (貢地蓮花紋弔喪旗)" belonging to the Jiya Society of Beigang (北港集雅軒), an item that was recognized in 2018 by the Yunlin County Government as a registered historical relic.
Near-lost handicrafts like drum-stand carvings, miniature pavilions, and wood-crafted banners, along with historical correspondence materials, gift books, and troupe registration papers will also be on display to showcase the glory days of Beiguan.
The exhibition will run for almost a year and a half, with exhibits changing every four months. Come by the NCFTA's Yilan Park to make the most of this rare opportunity to see the best of Beiguan!
‘Diligent Amateurs, Great Passion: Exhibition of Taiwan Beiguan Arts’
• Date: Dec. 7, 2019 – May 23, 2021
• Venue: NCFTA Yilan Park
• Address: No.201 Wubin Rd. Sec. 2, Wujie Township, Yilan County, Taiwan (ROC)
• Site: https://beiguan.ncfta.gov.tw/