Taiwan - Sanyi


Watch local artisans at work at Taiwan’s foremost woodcarving centre.

Taiwan’s foremost woodcarving centre and its surroundings make for an excellent day trip from Taichung or Hsinchu. If possible, stay overnight so you can give the area the time it deserves.

The woodcarving industry got its start during the early part of the Japanese colonial period when the local camphor forests were heavily logged. Roots and stumps were plentiful and carvings made by local artisans were popular with Taiwanese and Japanese Buddhists. Americans were important customers after World War II: Catholics commissioned sculptures of the Virgin Mary while soldiers based in Taiwan picked up souvenirs. Each summer there are exhibitions and competitions.

Gorgeous valleys and forest-covered hills lie to the east of Sanyi. To explore them you’ll need your own car or motorcycle or to be a determined cyclist.

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