The Culture and Tourism Bureau of Miaoli County Government is dedicated, pursuant to relevant regulations, to the collection, exhibition, publication, promotion, preservation, and use of cultures, arts, relics, documents, cultural assets, tourism and marketing, local development, and historical data, as well as cultural fund management and operations in the County. The achievements of the Bureau from 2015 to 2017 are listed as follows:
1. Cross-Domain Program of Old Mountain Line
Miaoli County Government received a 300-million “Cross-Domain Program” subsidy from the Tourism Bureau of the Ministry of Transportation and Communication in 2015 for the “Charm of World Heritage: Cittaslow International-Certified Old Mountain Line” Project. The Project is innovation-oriented, focusing on five major themes: “One concept: The Charm of World Heritages and Cittaslow International-Certified Sites”, “Two Innovations: Multiple Low-Carbon Transportation Modes and Railroad Resign”, “Three Attractions for International Marketing: Woodcarving Arts, International- Certified Old Mountain Line, and Flora Exposition”, “Cross-Domain Cooperation of Four Sides: Miaoli County, Taichung City, Tri-mountain, and Taiwan Railways”, “Five Theme Sites: ‘The Story of A Small Town’ Museum, Sanyi International Woodcarving Street, Mountain Scenery of Shengxing Railway, Remains of Longteng Bridge, and Village Scenery of Taian-Houli Railway”, as well as six implementation plans by which the Miaoli County Government has created a new page for tourism in Central Taiwan and applied for certification from the Cittaslow International in order to draw tourists from abroad to increase tourism production value.
The purpose of the Project is to build up a new image for travel along the Old Mountain Line. The five themes constitute a globally known tourist route along the Old Mountain Line. In addition, combined with the worldwide tourism brand of “Cittaslow International”, the Project promotes low-carbon tourism. By explaining the multiple transportation modes of railway and railroad, and allowing visitors to use them, the Project facilitates visitors’ profound understanding of the cultural history of the Old Mountain Line, which also means that the Old Mountain Line, a potential site for world heritage, can offer a new pattern of traveling experience as a world-famous tourist site.
2. The "Romantic Avenue on Provincial Highway 3" Project: Hakka Literature Garden, Chu-Huang Keng, Academy of Agricultural Innovation, and Blissful Floral Island
Miaoli County is an important base for preserving Hakka culture in Taiwan, and its 18 townships, villages, and county-administered cities are all included for Hakka cultural development. In recent years, with the long-term support from the Hakka Affairs Council, the Miaoli County Government has devoted its efforts to the preservation and renaissance of the traditional culture and lifestyle in Miaoli, and has actively proposed projects, which have received fruitful achievements. To build Miaoli into one of the best places for the development of Hakka culture, the County Government proposed 12 subsidy projects in total to the Hakka Affairs Council in August 2017, and received a subsidy of 95,904,000 NTD under the Council’s “Establishment Program of Hakka Cultural Lifestyle and Industrial Environment.” Eight of the 12 subsidy projects are dedicated to Touwu Township, Toufen City, Dahu Township, Miaoli City, Houlong Village, and Zhuolan Village; and the other four subsidies are to be utilized by the Culture and Tourism Bureau’s projects: “Hakka Literature Garden”, “Space Design of Chu-Huang Keng Scenic Area”, “Establishment of a Workshop for Hakka Industries in the Low Elevation Mountain Area”, and “Establishment of the Academy of Agricultural Innovation.” Currently, the above-mentioned projects are still underway, and hopefully the County can build up an excellent environment for Hakka culture preservation and development.
In cooperation with the national policy of constructing Hakka Romantic Avenue on Provincial Highway 3, in August 2017, the Xin An Workshop in Tongjing Village, Sanwan Township established a local workstation called “Hou Sheng Tian Shou Tuan (the Group of Youngsters' Help),” where the community planner would lead two youngsters to offer their abundant guidance and community development experience, and combine resources from the townships and villages around Provincial Highway 3 with the resources of local tourism industries and Hakka culture, in order to establish four in-depth travel routes and hold 30 lectures and events on relevant topics. In addition, a platform is offered for youngsters to propose innovative and creative ideas, and a community residency project will be carried out to offer care and support to Hakka people, as well as to look into the local cultural and historical context in order to pinpoint the unique, appealing characteristics of the communities, so that the traditional Hakka villages can be revitalized, and the economy of the industries along Provincial Highway 3 can be improved. In the future, workstations will be set up, one after another, in every village and township along Provincial Highway 3 in order to build the areas around the highway into a stronghold for youngsters to realize their dreams.
3. Preservation and Repairing of Cultural Assets
Miaoli County is a place where the cultures of multiple ethnic groups (e.g., Hakka, Minnan, and indigenous groups) intersect, with abundant cultures, histories, traditions and customs, and the preservation of tangible and intangible cultural assets embedded. In Miaoli, one national historic monument, ten county monuments, four cultural landscapes, and 41 historical buildings have been designated as tangible cultural assets, and preserved. In addition, eight types of traditional arts and five cultural-related relics have been registered as intangible cultural assets; among them, Pas-ta’ai (meaning the Ritual to the Short People) of the Saisiyat people and The Baishatun Matsu Pilgrimage have been designated as important cultural customs in Taiwan. To promote cultural diversity and respect human creativity, the Miaoli County Government considers the preservation and innovation of tangible and intangible cultural assets to be its ultimate goal.
4. Promotion and development of the Hakka language
On the basis of the Hakka Affairs Council’s overall direction for developing and promoting the local Hakka language, the Miaoli County Government has proposed a two-year project, from 2018 to 2019, for the overall development of the Hakka language, with an aim to promote and revive the language. This project has established the Hakka Affairs Guidance Team, organized the consultation meeting “The Preservation and Promotion of Raoping Hakka”, and held three meetings with the Guidance Team to discuss and examine the project outcomes of the early stage. In addition, for eighteen township and city offices, seminars and lectures regarding the “On the Overall Development of the Local Hakka Language: A Project Managed by the Hakka Affairs Council” project have been held. The goal is to facilitate the cooperation between the Miaoli County Government and all the other township and city offices, in order to create an environment for the Hakka language and make it into a language that is widely spoken by the public in daily life.
5. Pass on the legacy of crafts: woodcarving, pottery making, weaving, rush grass weaving, and Jew’s harp
To pass on and exhibit the legacy of pottery and weaving crafts, the Miaoli County Government held a workshop this year to foster talents in making wood- fired pottery, with the aim of recruiting new talents to carry on Miaoli’s pottery-making tradition. The Government has collaborated with communities to hold activities on promoting weaving crafts, and invited local seniors to hold craft workshops, such as waraji-making workshops in Gongguan Township and rush grass weaving workshops in Yuanli Township. In addition, Hsien-ping Chang and Yuma Taru, both of whom are master craftsmen regarded as the national treasures of Miaoli County, were invited to the Creative Expo Taiwan this year to exhibit their crafts at the exhibition center, and promote Miaoli’s weaving crafts.
Continuing the event outcomes of last year, The 2017 Miaoli Pottery Taiwan Wood-Firing Art Festival is held from November 4th to November 30th, with “The Essence of Kiln” serving as the theme. Special exhibitions are held to display the features of Miaoli kilns, present the spirits of pottery artists, and pass on the unique tradition of “Miaoli Pottery.” Art performance, DIY pottery-making events for families, pottery markets, and on-site pottery creation activities are held on weekends to enable more people to learn about, and appreciate, the beauty of Miaoli Pottery, and to boost the development of pottery creation and its industry.
The legacy of Miaoli County’s registered intangible cultural assets is passed on and promoted through the teaching of local and traditional crafts, with project evaluation events held to present students’ learning outcomes, as well as to honor the teachers and craftsmen.
To pass on woodcarving crafts, the Cultural and Tourism Bureau of Miaoli County holds “The Woodcarving Legacy and Creation Camp” every summer vacation, at which time young talents are recruited to interact with woodcarving craftsmen. The Camp has been joined by father-and-son, father-and-daughter, and teacher-and-student teams over the years, and has fostered several young talents to devote their efforts to the field of woodcarving creation. The goal is to recruit and foster new generations and pass on the woodcarving art through intensive and strict teaching at the Camp, as well as through the mutual and long-term efforts of the industry, government, and academia.