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The First Class of the Miniature Artist Zhen-long Chen Has Started, and He Shared His 50-Year Experi

  • PostDate:2020-06-09

June 7, 2020

Cultural Affairs Bureau / Tourism and Information Department


        In order to pass down the wood architecture, the Cultural Affairs Bureau of Chiayi City held the “Wood Modelling of Old Building” at Fuzhang Liangcai Studio. Zhen-long Chen, the craftsman of the train station miniature model, was invited to teach the apprentices how to make “North Gate Station” and “Luliao Village Tobacco Barn” in the 4-month lessons of hundreds of hours. He, 77, claimed that he passed down what he’d learned for the past 50 years.

        According to Chen, a model is always 20 times smaller than its original building and the construction methods including bracing, column setting, and mortising are all applied. He took “Luliao Village Tobacco Barn” for example and explained that it’s an Osaka-style tobacco barn which requires different roof slope in order to control the temperature. The whole North Gate Station is supported by the beams above without any support columns; therefore, the proportion needs to be well calculated.

        For the first time teaching, Chen wants the best for the students and values the quality of the lesson. The students are fast learners and respond to their teacher with passion during the lesson, which makes Chen even more motivated. This is the first and the last time Chen opens a class, and he was quite satisfied with the works of his students.

        The student Jun-peng Xue, who works as a building maintainer and a member of “Old Building Power” program, believes the lesson can improve the techniques he needs for work. Modelling is as if you’re building a house. With a teacher giving the theories and practical experience, he has learned much about traditional Japanese buildings. Mr. Huang used to believe that it wasn’t hard to model, yet he learned that it takes time and effort after attending the class. He gained the sense of achievement after getting his work done.

        According to Cultural Affairs Bureau, Chen planned to retire last year; however, he promised Mayor Min-hui Huang to pass down his skills after the invitation. Considering how energy-consuming teaching a lesson is, there were only few students in a class. The students have become the assistants to promote and preserve the wood modelling after the training.

        Chen, born in Zhuqi of Chiayi County and known as Master Long, is an expert of train station modelling. He started working in the construction site when he was a teenager. He learned the construction drawing from an architect when he was 21 and got himself to be familiar with Min, Japanese and Baroque styles. In order to improve, he also learned construction drawings, designs, and construction from an architect who worked in Japan for 3 years. He started the miniature modelling with his experience on architecture and has created numerous exquisite works of train stations.

        Inspired by the vanishing stations built with hinoki along the Alishan Forest Railway, Chen made up his mind to create those miniature models for the society. In addition, he has even made the models of Keelung, Taipei and Taoyuan stations. Scholars from Western countries even paid a visit to him for his marvelous techniques. People will be able to see the two models of “North Gate Station” and “Luliao Village Tobacco Barn” in the near future.