Picking Up Golden Dreams - Jinguashi/JiufenReturn
TELDAP e-Newsletter (February, 2012)
Picking Up Golden Dreams - Jinguashi/Jiufen
The Taiwan Digital Archives Expansion Project/LIN, Ciao-Mei
From the faded color of the clothing, you can tell it was originally blue... It is more apparent after the sun sets or in its middle age The kind of blue that penetrates the soul A sorrowful and electrifying color Sweat stains on the neckline are smeared with a glowing touch of orange, gray, and silver In short, you are looking at a shirt from the Tang dynasty Is this not peering into the past? - Extract from Li Jin-wen, [Blue Night (Evening reflections at Jiufen)]
Picking Up Golden Dreams Going back a hundred years from now, during the time of the Qing Dynasty, Taiwan's inspector general Liu Ming-chuan led workers to construct a railroad linking Taipei and Keelung. One day after lunch, a worker from Guangdong who was in a playful mood, went down to the Keelung river and began rinsing his bowl in the sand. Suddenly and unexpectedly, gold appeared in his bowl! After the news spread, people came from all over to pan for gold. They followed the bank of the river in pursuit of their dream of obtaining gold. Gradually they headed upstream and eventually discovered gold veins running through the Jinguashi/Jiufen region.
In fact, early in the Qing dynasty, during the reign of Kangxi, Ji Qi-guang - the first head magistrate of Zhuluo county - records in his "Records of Taiwan" (Taiwan Za Ji) that, "Gold in the mountain beyond Keelung's Sanchao Creek is mined locally. It is as large as a fist and as long as a foot. Aborigines took the gold in his hand and there was a thunderous noise, he then abandoned the gold. Small pieces have also been extracted. The gold in the water at the bottom of the mountain is fragmented like crumbs…." Keelung at that time is also present-day Jilong. During the 17th century, Ji Qi-guang had already set eyes on the locals and the gold of Keelung; however, perhaps it was the mountain range guards that protected the arteries - which explains the "Thunderous noise" sounded as a warning to people who picked up the gold. Perhaps Emperor Qianlong implemented a policy that restricted mining in the region. Jinguashi/Jiufen is regarded as Taiwan's primary gold mining site - all the way until the end of the 19th century. All of this came about from a playful railroad worker who launched a massive-scale mining craze that lasted for many years.
Picture: 1912, a panoramic view of Jinguashi
As political situations have changed over the 20th century, the Jinguashi/Jiufen region mining industry has passed through the hands of many different people. In the beginning it was the Gold Bureau of the Qing dynasty. After the first Sino-Japanese war, it was controlled by the Japanese, where it was separated and given to two companies called Tanaka and Kumi Fujita. Jiufen’s Kumi Fujita later conferred their mining rights to the Yan family, which became a Japanese limited company called Taiyang Mining Company. As for the Jinguashi, after World War II, Taiwan’s Jintong Mining Bureau took over Tanaka mining enterprises in Guangfu. In 1955, the organization was changed to Taiwan Metal Mining Company (called Tai Jin for short). After 1987, the mining site closed and ceased operations. According to conservative estimates from officials, the Jinguashi/Jiufen mining region has produced about 100 metric tons, but in the opinion of Tai Jin employees, if you consider the gold that has been stolen, smuggled, or gone missing, the real amount produced in the region is probably over 200 metric tons. During the time when mining in the area reached its peak, Jiufen at one point enjoyed the reputation and nickname of “Little Shanghai” as it flourished for a time. Who knows how many countless dreams of obtaining gold were created here.
After the gold mine ceased operations, the Jinguashi/Jiufen area became desolate for a time. Moss and lichen covered the entrances to the mine shafts of the factories. It was a rainy and lonely scene. Recently, owing to the rise in tourism, Jinjiu district has become a focal point for tourists. People line the streets of Jiufen, they pass along the old scenic streets, they relearn the regions glorious history, and hike up the large stone steps. They make a wish for gold before the shrine of the god of gold. Some people say that in the daytime she is like a quiet child - just sitting there, gazing upon the mountains and the sea. As night approaches, she becomes a charming and graceful woman wearing a shawl of mist, decorated with lights and shadows all around. Regardless of her appearance, she enchants and fascinates everyone. The ethos of the Jinguashi/Jiufen area is beautiful beyond description. One can spend half of a lifetime exploring the grandeur of the region - not something that everyone is able to do. The program director of "E-learning & Digital Archives of the Special Geology and Mining Industry," Professor Yu Bing-sheng, is one expert on this subject.
Picture: 1981, Scenery of Taiwan Metal Mining Company's open mining activity.
During the early 1980's, sophomore Yu Bing-sheng began attending Jinjiu district geological survey activities. He caught hold of the gold era and in congruence with its trend, he surveyed the past. He Began as a student in the geology department, but is now a scholar in the same field. In Yu Bing-sheng's mind, the rise and fall of the mining industry has caused people to lament, but wind erosion and the fading memory of mining culture is forcing him to race against time. If we can look at this at a macro-level, the extant of geological records and places of cultural interest do not only provide us with information to contrast the past and present, but it also allows future tourists to gain a deeper understanding of Jinjiu's local condition and customs. Since 1999, Yu Bing-sheng has lead the resource engineering team from National Taipei University of Technology, creating a new force for E-learning & Digital Archives. "These people are all old friends, we need to hurry and work. Some of the older workers are already in their 80's and they just can't run around helping me anymore..." says Yu Bing-sheng regarding the documentary filming. Because he has been digging in the area for such a long time, many Tai jin employees are very familiar with him. After many years, they still maintain contact with each other. With just a phone call explaining our purpose, they were more than happy to accept an interview. These old employees are not just the most important witnesses of the gold era, but they also have provided many important photographs and documents, which has enriched the content of E-learning & Digital Archives.
The Beauty of Opening with a Click
Owing to Yu Bing-sheng's expertise knowledge of geology, this year it is planned to scan pictures regarding minerals, in an effort to complete the database for information on Jinjiu minerals. it is worth mentioning that the team has completed 720 scans of mineral shapes and patterns, which means that these pictures can be converted into 3D images. Users will be able to turn the images of the minerals with practically no angle gaps. They will be similar to semi-transparent crystals so as to reveal the interior of the objects. Regardless of whether it is a crease, a cavity, a projection, or any minute color change, 3D mineral modeling proudly teaches us that the earth is the worlds best artist. At the same time, the team has taken much footage of Jinjiu's surrounding scenery so as to virtualize its bounderies and create a 3D model of Jinjiu. Upon entering the program's website, we can choose to gaze at the mesmerizing ocean from Jingua or walk along the coast and jump in, then leap through 30 levels of a mine pit and look around in all directions at the scenery. Perhaps we can walk up behind the mountain to the mouth of Liukeng and allow the surrounding greenery ease our minds. with the accompanying text on the website, we can transform into travelers through time and space. It is excellent to travel in virtual 3D, you don't have to worry about the weather, you don't have to make travel plans, but you can read about Jinjiu district any time you want.
(Picture: The era of Tai Jin. The cableway of the Liukeng smelter. It ceased operating in 1989.)
Waiting for Fine Sunny Weather
The "E-learning & Digital Archives of the Special Geology and Mining Industry" team is just like the people who had dreams of panning for gold in those days - they hope to come across more precious treasure. The difference is the panners dreamt of gold, while the team seeks for a brighter future. Jinguashi/Jiufen district is located in north-eastern Taiwan. Because it faces the ocean with mountains at its back, when it is hot, there is a strong mountain wind, when it is cold, there is a rainy mist. This type of special climate has caused the team to have much difficulty in filming the scenery.
Because of this, members of the team are kept in suspense daily by weather forecasts - taking advantage of the days with no rain. Since this is the way it is, they frequently return home without any results. The unpredictable clouds in this mountain town are stirred up from time to time, creating dense fog and clouds that form a mesmerizing, romantic picturesqueness, which cause the team members to endure excessive sufferings. Because of the demand for quality, the team strives to work in the sunshine so that there are few insufficient areas. They are relying on future manufacturing in order to conduct their fine-tuned procedures. The team believes that this precious mountain seizes upon emotion and creates an irreplaceable treasure. In order to reciprocate back to mother earth, they are more than happy to hare their achievements with everyone. Therefore, while they are conducting their work, Yu Bing-sheng decided to form an alliance with Jinguashi gold museum and share his results to the museum at no cost in hopes that every tourist can deeply come to understand the profoundness of Jinjiu district and read about its heritage in this digital age, with bricks and stones as footnotes. (Picture: The location of Gold Museum)
Recline into a Digital Stream of Metal In the past, I used to reflect on miners from Wu Nian-zhen's "Duo Sang," Passing through Director Hou Xiao-xian's "City of Sorrow" in the lens, looking for reasons to survive in a rapid changing world. Going a little further, then climbing over the hill that showed up in Wang Tong's film, Silent Hill, looking over the entire mining history of mountain town. Looking back, I can still span over space and time, exploring Jinguashi/Jiufen district. That is the treasure that E-learning Digital Archives preserves. From nature to culture, it all belongs to Jinjiu districts inexhaustible treasures.
Picture: This year it is planned to scan pictures of minerals and strive towards completing Jinjiu mineral information database.
Publisher：Fan-Sen Wang, Vice President of Academia Sinica Editor-in-Chief：Zong-Kun Li Publishing Department：Taiwan e-Learning and Digital Archives Program, TELDAP Executive Editor：Sub-project: Digital Information - the New and Creative Way of Communicating Mailing Address：The Institute of History and Philology, Academia Sinica
No.130, Sec. 2, Academia Rd., Nangang District, Taipei City 115, Taiwan TEL： (02) 27829555 ext:310 or 183 FAX： (02) 2786-8834 E-mail：firstname.lastname@example.org
Issue：TELDAP e-Newsletter (February, 2012) Publish Date：02/15 /2012 First Issue：02/15 /2007（Published on 15th every 2 months）
The copyright of all contents in this e-Newsletter belongs to TELDAP,Taiwan. The e-Newsletter publishing system is supported by the Core Platforms for Digital Contents Project for TELDAP.