The Presence of Negotiation in Colonial Taiwan- Clue from a bowl and foodway?

We usually take colonialism as more than a unidirectional power relationship in archaeology now, since so many cases show us about resistance, negotiation and creolization.

In Japanese Colonial Period (JCP) in Taiwan, the Japanese Colonial Government applied multiple approaches which included military power, political system, ideology and economic system to maintain their ruing.

When I traced my own family history, I found that there are so many little habits are actually the creolized product of Taiwanese culture and Japanese culture. There was once a tatami (Japanese style bedroom) in our family house. My grand grand father built that room when he was recruited by the Japanese Colonial Government as a local representative. My families began to attend Japanese school in the same time, I think this is why my grandpa alway spoke Japanese to me when I was young. And he always revealed a close emotion to Japanese and nostalgia to JCP. Oh right, I believe the raw clam marinated by soy sauce is also the heritage of hybrid culture of Taiwan and Japan, it is delicious!

Screen Shot 2014-06-13 at 11.05.35 PM

When I participated in several CRM project in Taipei area, the ceramics imported from Japan was always the largest remain in in JCP site. Amount these ceramics, there was a specific crane-motif bowl. Honestly it looked just not like Japanese ware, whether color, style or manufacturing technique. We could not figure it out until we luckily found the location and remains of Beitou kiln site in northern Taipei. We final confirm the sourcing of this specific ware.

Recently, combining with statistical data, some historical records and some JCP governmental policies, I found this locally made crane-motif bowl might reflect the negotiation between colonizer and colonized and also indicate a creolization of two culture. This Japanese style motif and Han style body shape bowl was made by Beitou kiln company that its boss had great relation with the Japanese Colonial Government. When this kiln company established, the Japanese Colonial Government published an assimilation policy in the same time in 1920. According to the price setting of this bowl, we can strongly believe that this product was targeted to Han commoners. Not only encourage Han people to speak Japanese, but also try to change the foodway gradually.

Anyway, the data I have now is quite insufficient for me to do further research. I just hope that I can find more related documents or find a Han settlement with complete deposit with crane-motif bowl, then I might tell you more story about it!

Who are you? Fox corporation?

Soda/Mineral bottle from the Fox company

Soda/Mineral bottle from the Fox company

I found an interesting glass bottle in the assemblage of Atlantic/Central Bus Base Expansion CRM project.

It has embossing motif with “Fox/ Trade Mark/ J.G.Fox & Co/ Seattle Wash” on the cylindrical body, according to the seams on the body and bottom, we can know that this bottle was made by two-piece mold with cup-bottom, and this bottle has tooled crown finish on the top. The two-piece mold with cup-bottom method is dated in 1850-1910’s which just in the dating range of this site.

Since there is “Seattle. Wash(ington)” on the body, we know that this bottle has great possibility made in Seattle locally. This bottle might be used as soda or mineral water bottle. J.G Fox & Co. seems both beverage and bottle company, but there isn’t much information about this company. Some beer company use the bottle from the Fox but Fox has it own ‘snappy soda’ as well.

In the archaeological assemblage, we found over 20 percentage bottle can be classified as soda/mineral bottle, this is a relatively high percentage, Maybe this number indicate the popularity of soda and mineral water around 1900’s in Seattle, means people might buy and consume these drinks everywhere, in restaurants, on the street or in their homes.



Website resource for artifacts analysis

Modern ceramics and glasses are two main remains in historical site, except scholarly articles, there are many useful websites we can use to support our analysis. Here are two for Japanese porcelain after 19th century and trademark of glass bottles in the US.

Japanese porcelain 陶片窟 TOUHEN-KUTSU

Glass bottle marks

 Although these are very useful resources, we still need to keep caution to everything.

The Paramount

The very first time when I went by the Paramount Theatre, I felt a little bit odd because of the beautiful, elegance and classic front and simple, even a little dull of the rest of the building. For the first glance, I didn’t know it is a theatre until I went to the performance and stunned by the interior, “the interior itself is a great piece of work!” I told my friend sat beside me.

Today, many great works perform in this beautiful theatre which become a irreplaceable spot of Seattle.

The contemporary view of the Paramount. (Courtesy Googlemap)

The contemporary view of the Paramount. (Courtesy Googlemap)

The grant opening, falls and arise again.

The Paramount Theatre was called Seattle Theatre when the very first opening in March 1st 1928. The Seattle Times introduce its open with joyful report and this theatre became the hot spot for entertainment. Right after two years later, in order to conformity with Mother company’s policy, the name of this theatre changed to the Paramount Theatre and played multiple performances. Although the time was Great Depression, Paramount Theatre still survived through. Since the vaudeville become less and less popular, the Paramount usually showing films, with only occasional “live” performances from the 40’s to the 60’s. Within these years, the Paramount once leased to Stanley Warner Cinerama Corporation who tried to renovate and play ‘Cinerama’, however this project was quickly gave up due to the lack of sufficient technology to play on huge screen. The Paramount was sold to Clise Properties Inc around the middle of the 50’s, after decades of low tide condition, but the purchaser went bankrupt in the late 80’s. Until Ida Cole bought the Paramount in 1993, these series of unsmooth gradually get better. After Ida’s renovation project, the Paramount experience the grant open again in 1995. Few years later the ownership transferred in 2002 but this didn’t influence the Paramount anymore.  Now the Paramount is still the greatest place to watch the show, the performance.

Historical tricks.

I find that the edge signboard and front door signboard actually reveal information about dating of the paramount. Compare these four pictures with each other and the story of the paramount, you will find out! Next time when you see a historical photo about the Paramount, you can know when was the photo taken.

 1928 front door  1983.10.3955
1928 (Courtesy Puget Sound Theatre Organ Society)) 1928 (Courtesy MOHAI (Online exhibition))
 1947  1956
1946 (Courtesy MOHAI (Image No. 1983.10.16682.1)) 1956 (Courtesy MOHAI (Image No. 1986.5.3049.1))


Gender difference? A survey in Calvary Cemetery

Gravestone research has its importance in historical archaeology research, not only it can provide information of gender differences, self-identity, social status and kinship relations of the past society but also a milestone of historical archaeology that set by James Deetz. This time, let’s take a look and make some tributes to Deetz by doing a little observation in Calvary Cemetery.

A corner of the cemetery. Photo by Jiun

The following is my survey route, I survey from the South west corner to the east side then the north end of the cemetery. The other area is covered by my teammates,  basically we try to observe as many as possible. Here’s our survey route Jiun’s, Roger’s. and Li-Ying’s.

So, here’s the thing. After analyze the data we record, I find that there is indeed a difference between male and female gravestone, the size. According to the plot (1 is male, 2 is female, the side numbers are sizes) I generate, although it is not significant over numbered, the male gravestone in some cases indeed bigger than female’s. However, this seems the only different trait I observed. I also analyze the relation between sex and material, period, shape. Interestingly is, instead of sex difference, the material and shape of gravestone are more related with period. It seems the vogue is also significant.

Speaking to fashion, it seems 1920-1925 was a pivot point of design shift.  Plot shows most of the gravestones are block and monument after this period, the early multiple design was no longer exist. Also the material choosing seems related to period as well, marble disappeared after 1920 and metal only go on table for few decades.

Since this is only a preliminary observation, there might have statistical error (maybe a lot!) but these plot is still interesting and story telling, is it?

It’s hard. But we can do it!

Since last year, we can see many compost bins show up on campus and in the buildings. UW also announced the increase of recycle and compost rate, it is a good news for us and to the environment where we live.

This quarter, I and my colleague have a chance to run a little garbology research on campus. We pick up two trash bags from Physics Building and Denny Hall and analyze them. Originally we want to see if there are any differences of trash between ‘Hard’ and ‘Soft’ science. Except the Physics-related magazine, it seems hard to differ these two trash from this single study. If we want to derive some more concrete results, we better to have a long term observation of the trash from these two buildings.

However we do find some interesting results other than our original plan. After the analysis of trash, we find that there are many compostable stuff in the trash bag, so we sort the trash again. For the trash bin context, there is no compost bin close to the Physics trash where we collect, but there is one compost bin close to the trash bin where we collect in Denny. It seems the set of compost bin beside the trash bin indeed influence our behavior of throwing trash.

Most of the paper towels, napkins and coffee cups are compostable, and some bio-plastic cup for cold drinks are compostable as well, but we still find a lot of these stuff in the trash. Compare to where I came from, Taiwan, the recycle and compost process is relatively easy, we just need to sort our trash and put them into right bins. In Taiwan, we have to clean and rip off the un-recyclable parts before we dump it. That why I say it is easy to do out here.

Next time, before you throw, stop, think and dump. 🙂

Rosie and unsorted trash


Far way stories

Southeast Asia is alway a fascinating with large cultural, environmental and landscape diversity. Recent years, the Southeast archaeology booms and gets more and more attention. This SEAArch blog is operated by a PhD candidate Noel Hidalgo Tan at the Australian National University.The SEAArch blog is like a hub that information stream flows in and out, you can find SEA archaeology news, Noel’s personal comment and conference information through this site. Although there seems no specific writing tone, I think most of the readers of this blog are SEA archaeological-related personals. Right, do visit the websites from the blogroll, they are fun as well!

Port Tabacco Project

This is and outreach blog of Port Tabacco Project. According to the blog, this project is sponsored by the Archeological Society of Maryland and several other organizations in order to restore the history of Port Tabacco. Although this project has already finished for a while, this blog still stands here as a beacon to mark the history of the research steps. We can see the project crew constantly post their findings, reactions and record of collaborative activities with the public. I believe during the project running time, this blog played an important role of communication, and we can “excavate” the project history through this blog.

Centre for Maritime Archaeology- University of Southampton

If you are the fan of maritime archaeology, don’t miss this blog! University of Southampton has a long tradition of maritime archaeology and continuously growing. This blog is a sub-blog of a group blog runs by, mostly, students. If you have other interests such as archaeology computing methods, classic or historical archaeology in England, just jump to other sub-blog and you can find what you want. In the maritime archaeology sub-blog, it seems the formal tone is used more often, maybe it is not many fun to read, but definitely a place to visit for underwater archaeology and cool technologies.