Taiwan 2017: The Sanyi Duck Factory

Only a little ways away from the daily market is the Sanyi Duck Factory, created in the 1960s and famed for its hand carved wooden ducks and decoys. I believe it was one of the first to manufacture wooden ducks, and exported them out internationally. Now it is a really pleasant DIY painting place, which is an excellent thing for families, tourists and me.

The walk to the factory goes beyond the railroad tracks and under a bridge where I saw on two different occasions, clandestine farm tools and pineapples for sale. There is a stream off to the side of the road where I saw a woman washing her pots and pans. Mom was surprised to see that still happening. She had done that too when she was young, before western sinks and plumbing had taken as strong a hold.

The place is signified by large yellow duckling statues, and there is a duck fountain right outside. The is a Duck Treasure Shop beside the DIY studio, and has the history of the duck factory along the walls. Painted wooden birds and animals fill the whole of the place and they were really quite lovely and creative. Their first export was to Ohio of all places.

At the DIY studio, you pick your wooden figure and pay its cost. You are then seated with six acrylic paints and are given free reign to do as you will. I was inspired by a certain duck in the shop to paint my goose in blue and white like porcelain. I may have gone a little overboard with it but it was such fun.

The other thing I painted was a set of jiaobei, Chinese moon blocks, which are crescent shaped divination tools. If you are praying for guidance from higher beings, the jiaobei can signify their answers to your questions. You toss them into the air, and if they land with a bulged and flat side, it is a positive. If they land with the same sides up, then it is a no or an unclear. I painted this one in black and gold, inspired by the butterfly patterns of Lili Yang, a ceramic artist I once encountered in Yingge.

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