A recent assignment for Silkroad taking photos of four generational shops around Taiwan turned out to be a lot of fun as all the traditional shops and subjects were interesting and photogenic.
The third shop I went to was Hsiang Ren He’s traditional drum making shop now run by Wang Hsi-kun.
Wang Hsi-kun is the second generation drummaker of Hsiang Ren He and is a Councilor of Cultural Affairs as a preserver of Cultural Heritage technology.
Hsiang Ren He has been in operation for over 80 years and supplies most of Taiwan’s temples and traditional troupes with their drums.
A lovely humble man, Wang and his helpers were a pleasure to photograph.
His drums are still made by hand the traditional way, indeed, his shop probably looks the same as it did 50 years ago.
Founded in 1927, the Shuili Snake Kiln in Nantou is now run by third-generation artisan Lin Kuo-jung.
The wood-fire kiln is one of Taiwan’s oldest and at over 30m in length is also one of the longest.
The pottery park has classes, displays and master potters making pottery that is available for purchase.
A baker cooking lard for his bakery didn’t sound incredibly interesting, but 73-year-old Lu Sung-chi – the second-generation owner of the bakery – was an incredibly interesting character.
Not only is he a master baker, but also a recognized musician and an acclaimed martial artist.
He has been making Lao Xue Hua pastry for 52 years and has recently passed the reins to his son, but is still active in the factory.
He says the key to his tasty pastries is the traditional handmade lard his shop produces every morning.
He lives by (and in the photo below is posing by) his motto — no excuses.
The final traditional shop in the article was Tainan’s own Du Hsiao Yueh noodle shop.
The 120 year old shop now has several branches in Tainan and has now moved into China.
The noodles are delicious, cheap and the shops are infused with a traditional decor and atmosphere.