A Taiwanese Installation That Celebrates the Design of the Thao Tribe

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A self-described old soul, young Taiwanese bamboo artist Cheng-Tsung Feng is fascinated by traditions of the past, often translating ancient techniques and craft into his modern-day work. For a recent public art installation, he turned to the ancient craft of the Thao tribe’s handmade river fishing traps.

Exploiting both the strength and flexibility of his medium of choice, bamboo artist has applied his creative hand to all manner of object, from the series of hand-held/vanity mirrors, each made from a single piece of bamboo, to , a wildly undulating lounge chair that expresses a fluid organic nature. His most recent installation, Fish Trap House, is a celebration of the indigenous Thao tribe, their culture and their craft.

Set on Ita Thao pier on Sun Moon Lake in Taiwan, Fish Trap House is not only a site for taking in the breathtaking vistas that surround the lake, it is a study in community and the sharing of knowledge through generations. The process began with Cheng-Tsung Feng visiting an elder of the Thao people to learn the traditional method for creating the bamboo traps the tribe uses for river fishing.

Thao Tribe design: Cheng-Tsung Feng's Fish Trap House is patterned after the Taiwanese indigenous tribe's riving fishing techniques.

Armed with this knowledge, the artist opened up the program to the public, hosting a workshop to teach what he had learned to 20 volunteers, both locals and tourists, furthering the passage of knowledge through teaching.

Thao Tribe design: Cheng-Tsung Feng's Fish Trap House is patterned after the Taiwanese indigenous tribe's riving fishing techniques.

It was with this diverse and ambitious group that Cheng-Tsung Feng built his own fish trap, albeit a massive one (the final structure stands at 5m x 5m x 3.3m). Made from bamboo, rattan and stainless steel, the hand-woven Fish Trap House overlooks the waters of the lake and the region’s mountainous landscape, offering a destination for the community and tourists to gather and appreciate both the ancient craft and its still-relevant place in today’s society.

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