Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Anca Mihaela Bruma writes and shoots

Tainan - The City of the Rising Phoenix!

Between the Sun
and the eye of an eagle,
where the eternal Beauty
returns by the flow of time,
there is Tainan,
the city of the rising Phoenix!
With its kaleidoscopic tableaux
and reflections of our Existence!

Bamboo leaves have been still whispering
the history of its transparent names,
with Lunyu sayings chiseled
in alabaster temples
about the crossing of the infinities
and the nothingness in the endless…

Between Confucian dreams
and butterfly purple orchids,
with every pastel sentiment
and sands of Time,
temporal echoes
and wise silences,
a story has been narrated
about the city of Tainan,
the Ascending Phoenix
with its infinite tails
and boundless fantasies.

It shines in parallaxes!

Where the rhythm of the soul
rises in feathered images,
with kaleidoscopic tableaux
and reflections of our Existence!



  1. Tainan is the oldest city on Taiwan, founded by the Verenigde Oostindische Compagnie (Dutch East India Company). Its convoluted history of comebacks, renewals, and redefinitions inspired its popular nickname as "the Phoenix City." The area has been inhabited for 20,000-30,000 years. By the late 16th century, Chinese merchants and fishermen had several bases along the west coast of the island, including Taioan (modern Anping), a sandbar across the Taikang "inner sea." Slightly to the north, along the shoreline near Bassemboy, the Japanese established trading bases. The Dutch colonists tried to gain control over Macau and the Penghu islands (Pescadores).

  2. Zheng Zhilong, the son of a minor official in Quanzhou, left home as a teenager to work for an uncle in Macao, where he was baptized as "Nicholas Gaspard," and then moved to Nagasaki, where he became an interpreter and fathered Zheng Sen (known as Fukumatsu in his early youth). In 1622, when Dutch forces took over the Pescadores archipelago off the Taiwan Strait, Zheng translated the peace negotiations and then continued as a Dutch privateer, but in August 1624 the VOC was expelled from the Pescadores after failing to coerce the Ming dynasty of China to trade with them, and they moved their operations to Taoyuan, establishing Ft. Orange on a raised sandy bank at the entrance to the harbor the sandbars extended from south to north. Four years later, they constructed Fort Zeelandia on the largest sandbar, which became Tainan and served as an important trade site. In 1625 Zheng and 17 Chinese pirates (including Shi Lang's father Shi Daxuan) formed the Shibazhi, and by 1627 he commanded 400 hundred junks and thousands of men from 10 outposts on Taiwan's southwest coast, between Tainan and Chiayi, but was evicted by the Dutch. After defeating the southern Ming fleet in 1628 he defected to the Ming and was given a military command and relocated off the coast of Fujian, commanding over 800 ships that ranged along the coast from Japan to Vietnam. As "Admiral of the Coastal Seas" he defeated a VOC-Shibazi fleet in 1633 and used the spoils to buy 60% of Fujian.

  3. Meanwhile, the Dutch expanded their operations; in 1635 and 1636 they conducted a series of military actions and diplomatic moves against the aborignal tribes in the southwest, and in 1642 they seized the Spanish garrison at Santisima Trinidad in Keelung. In 1652 the Dutch subdued rebellious Chinese in the Guo Huaiyi Rebellion and in 1653 built another base, Ft. Provintia. The Dutch settlement in southern Taiwan was so successful that it it had overtaken Batavia in Indonesia. In 1664 the Ming dynasty fell to the Qing, though remnant forces retreated to Nanjing and installed a new court; when that city fell the next year, the Ming installed the Longwu-huangdi in Fuzhou, under the influence of Zheng, while prince Lu established himself as regent and established a rival court at Shaoxing. Longwu-huangdi reamed Xheng's son Chenggong (success") and a title "Lord of the Imperial Surname"( Koxinga). Zheng betrayed Fuzhou to the Qing in 1646 in exchange for the governorship of Fujian and Guangdong, though Koxinga remained loyal to the new Ming emperor the Yongli-huangdi; he killed Shi Lang's father, brother, and son when the Shis remained loyal to his father (as a result of his son's continued resistance, Zheng would be executed in 1661). In 1661 Koxinga besieged the fort with 25,000 men and a 400-ship navy. The 2,000 defenders held our nine months before they surrendered, after losing 1,600 men. Then Zheng founded the kingdom of Tungning with Tainan as his capital. He renamed Ft. Provintia "Tungtu" and Ft. Zeelandia "Anping." In 1662, while preparing an attack against the Philippines, Koxinga died of malaria at 37. (His threat forced the Spanish to evacuate the Maluku (Moluccas) and Mindanao in order to defend Manila, allowing the Muslim Moro to retain their independence.) In 1663 Shi Lang commanded Dutch ships and men against Koxinga's successor. In 1665 the island's first school–temple, the Scholarly temple, was founded in Tainan to teach the Lunyu (the Analects) and other Confucian treatises (and the city still has more Buddhist and Taoist temples than any other on the island) by chief minister Chen Yonghua, who also introduced Chinese bureaucracy and introduced coastal salt production. The British were invited to set up a trading post in Anpinga. In 1668 Shi submitted a plan to drive the Ming remanants from Taiwan and the Pescadores, but the Qing court rejected it. But in 1683 Shi led 300 ships and 20,000 soldiers from Tongshan, Fujian, and conquered Tungning. In 1684 Shi persuaded a reluctant emperor to incorporate the island as part of Fujian, with Tainan as its provincial capital until 1887, when it was displaced by Taipei. As a marquis, Shi seized half of the developed land of southern Taiwan and forbade contact with the mainland. In 1721 Zhu Yigui led an army of Chinese peasants and indigenous tribes in rebellion and occupied Tainan for awhile. After the Second Opium War in 1858, the British forced China to reopen Anping to trade. After aborigines murdered 54 Japanese sailors, Japan sent a punitive expedition, and China was forced to cede the island to Japan in 1895. In an effort to forestall Japanese occupation, Liu Yongfu prolaimed a "Republic of Formosa" in 1895, but the rebels fled when the Japanese army arrived four months later. But Yu Qingfang led a new revolt in 1915, which the Japanese brutally suppressed. After World War II the Chinese retook the island, but when the Communists took over in 1948 Chiang Kai-shek moved the Republic of China government to Teipei.


Join the conversation! What is your reaction to the post?