;Danshui’s Guanyin Mountain (淡水觀音山) was renowned for its natural beauty and considered one of the “Eight Views” (八景) as early as in Qing dynasty. During the Japanese occupation, Guanyin Mountain and Danshui Harbour together made up the area known as “Danshui”, and were referred to as “Taiwan’s New Eight Views” (臺灣新八景). Images of Guanyin Mountain often appeared in photographs, postcards and paintings of the Japanese colonial period. Even after WWII, Guanyin Mountain continued to attract artistic attention, as many artists developed variations on the theme, using it to explore different artistic problems and to practice modern painting techniques.
This thesis investigates Guanyin Mountain as the subject of landscape paintings and explores its visual development from before to after WWII. It covers the evolution of Guanyin Mountain as a subject, with a focus on well known Taiwanese artists during the Japanese colonisation, as well as post-war works from the Chi-Yuan Painting Society (紀元畫會).
This paper consists of three parts. In the first, it investigates the visual concepts and constructions found in images of the Guanyin Mountain, looking back at the significance of its inclusion in the “Eight Views”, from the Qing dynasty through to the Japanese occupation. Chapter two and three, on the other hand, each examines three painters and their respective perceptions of the mountain. More specifically, chapter two looks at three artists of the colonial period—Liao Jichun (廖繼春, 1902-1976), Guo Bochuan (郭柏川, 1901-1974) and Chen Huikun (陳慧坤, 1907-2011); while chapter three discusses three painters from the post-war Chi-Yuan Painting Society—Chen Dewang (陳德旺, 1910-1984), Liao Dezheng (廖德政, 1920- ) and Jin Runzuo (金潤作, 1922-1983). Both groups shared similar educational and artistic backgrounds, and produced an abundance of images of the Guanyin Mountain. This thesis compares the two and their works, how they expressed their perceptions of the landscape and what artistic problems they were trying to tackle, thereby unpicking the developments in the motif, observing how the artistic viewpoint changed from one era to the other, and identifying the role of Guanyin Mountain in Taiwanese art history.