In the streets around the museum there are stores selling wood sculptures in various costs and sizes. In the picture below starting left to right: a typical store, a piece of wood, a wall hanging wood sculpture, two wood sculptures and last is the stores owners. Can you guess which one was the most expensive piece?
If you guessed any other thing than the “piece of wood” then you were wrong. That is right, the piece of wood is the most expensive one apparently in all of Taiwan. The best part is that it does not have a wood carving on it. So, how much is it? Drum roll, please. 12,000,000 NT (362,737 USD). I just about dropped to the floor when I heard that. The reason why it costs so much is because it is diseased. Who knew that wood that caught a cold would be worth so much! The other pieces cost 3,500,000 nt (105,796 USD), 8,500,000 nt (256,928 USD) and 300,000 nt (9,070 USD). I asked the shop owners what a typical person spends and they told me about 300,000 nt.
The one thing that caught my eye in and around the area with the shops was there was not a single security guard. I mean with pieces costing up to 12,000,000 nt, one would have thought they would have them hanging around, but I guess who is going to steal a piece of wood?
I promised the owners of the shop that I would share their information for there help on giving my readers an idea on how much things cost.
Every year the museum also hosts a wood sculpture competition in which anyone can participate. A woodcarver can submit his or her work from March to June. The payouts are substantial, starting at 500,000 NT (about 15,000 USD) through 100,000 NT (about 3,000 USD). They give the winner a permanent spot to display the piece. To find out the latest news about the competition click here.
I was hoping to provide some information about workshops and a possible apprenticeship, but in the end I could only find that they hold a wood carving workshop every year in the summer for Taiwanese people. I would have liked to provide more information on how someone from somewhere else outside Taiwan could have participated, but I had no such luck finding this out. If anyone reading this would like to sign themselves up for the task in locating someone and sharing it through a comment, it would be much appreciated!
Thanks wikipedia.org for the use of the image above.
The directions I will be providing is only by train.
How to get to the museum from Taipei:
The train to Miaoli from Taipei costs anywhere from 164 nt to 255 nt. The differences in price depends on the type of train. The time for the express is about 1 hour, 30 mins and the local train takes about 2 hours, 15 mins. The trains run all the time beginning at 5:00 am.
From the Miaoli train station take another train to the Sanyi. The trains run every 30 to 50 mins. The train ride takes 20 mins to reach Sanyi.
How to get to the museum from Taichung:
The trains from Taichung run about every 30 mins.The ride takes about 30 mins to reach Sanyi.
Once you reach Sanyi you can either walk to the museum or take a taxi and walk back (the museum is up a pretty steep hill). I have walked to and from the museum before and also have taken taxis. The cost of the ride is usually around 135 nt one way.
There are usually taxis outside the museum to take you back to the railway station, but if you have time, you can hike around the area and on a nice day you can see nice scenery. To find out more about the area click here.
I prefer to stay in Taichung and go to the museum from there. In Taichung there is also the National Taiwan Fine Art museum is free and is just awesome! Also, you can go visit a wonderful monastery in Puli called Chung Tai Chan and starting sometime this year (2016) they are opening up a wood sculpture museum on site.
There is one more wood sculpting museum in Taiwan and it is located in Chiayi, however at the time of this writing it was being rebuilt. So, if you are traveling around the island and looking for things to visit you might want to keep this in mind.
In my next post, I will be writing an article about a woodworking school/space in Taipei.
-- The Gringo Woodworker, http://www.thegringowoodworker.com