4 June 2019

Visiting Anping: Sio House and history of salt

It's our second time to be in Anping. 2 years ago we visited 5 most popular places which you can buy ticket in one time to visit. This time I wanted to see some placed we missed before. We visited Sio House (Salt Museum)Oyster Shell KilnTemple, Old Streetforts and castle and some smaller ancient buildings. Some places are free of charge to visit, for others the entrance fee is 50NTD. Anping is one of my favourite places to visit, full of history and street food everywhere. In March 2012, Anping was named one of the Top 10 Small Tourist Towns by Tourism Bureau of Taiwan. The older place name of Tayouan derives from nearby Taiwanese aboriginal tribe and was written by the Dutch and Portuguese variously. Han immigrants renamed the area "Anping" after the Anping Bridge in Fujian. Soon after Qing rule was established in 1683, the name "Taiwan" (臺灣) was officially used to refer to the whole island with the establishment of Taiwan Prefecture. 

Sio House Salt Museum (夕遊-出張所)

During Japanese occupation it was an important salt affair office, responsible for storage, sales and inspection. You can find here beach and park covering an area of 100 pings (330 m2). In exhibition hall you will find colored salt in 366 colors. You can find your own birthday color salt. Every color has its meaning which you can ask the staff working there to ask about (Chinese only).
Also you can taste colored baked quail eggs, use the wooden millet to break a shell to try it. There is also DIY lesson of making your own douhua.









History of salt production in Taiwan 

When Taiwan’s salt production began, it was impossible to test it. However, residents in Taiwan’s coastal areas obtained salt before the production period. Mainly they boiled seawater to take salt directly or to trade with merchants from mainland China. Residents which didn't live in the coastal zone used spring water to obtain salt.
In 1648 the Dutch East India Company imported 20 pieces of crushed stone needed to build a salt granule (crystallized pool) from mainland China. They opened up the salt mine, but salt produced here was bitter and couldn't be sold. Therefore, until the end of Dutch rule, the salt required by Taiwan was imported from mainland China, except for local residents who cooked their own sea salt. 

In 1661, Zheng Jun, who came to Taiwan, had to actively expand the agricultural land. In addition, in 1665, Ming Zheng joined the army and Chen Yonghua taught the people to build the hills. Reconstructing the salt-fields that the Dutch abandoned and improving the salt-making method. They opened three salt fields with total of 2,744 plaques.

See also: Fort Zeelandia

In June 1895, Japan began to rule Taiwan. In July of that year, the monopoly system was abolished. However, because this change was too sudden, the original salt sales network in Taiwan was instantly disintegrated. Salt produced here couldn't be sold smoothly, and most of the salt farmers switched jobs to sun-drying fields. At that time, the area of ​​salt fields was reduced from 640 to the remaining 203. In 1899 the Governor's Office of Taiwan adopted the proposal of Yan Xianrong, promulgating the "Taiwan Salt Monopoly Rules" and restoring the monopoly system. Two years after the restoration of the monopoly system he area of ​​salt fields in Taiwan returned to the size of the Qing Dynasty and was capable of exporting salt to Japan. The salt production exceed 100,000 metric tons in 1914, and up to 170,000 metric tons in two years.








Taiwan Salt Co.

During the World War I, with the development of Japanese industry, the demand for industrial salt increased. Taiwan Governor’s Monopoly Bureau decided to build a new salt industry in Taiwan, which was established in 1919. "Taiwan Salt Co., Ltd." was responsible for the production of salt, while Dainippon Salt Co., Ltd. was responsible for the export of salt to Japan. In the 1930s, due to the rise of the Japanese chemical industry, the demand for industrial salt was further increased. The Monopoly Bureau established a new four-year plan for the construction of 47,000 metric tons of industrial salt in 1936.

In 1938, the company established the South Japan Salt Industry Co. and in November of the same year, the company was approved to open a total of 6000 industrial salt fields in Chiayi, Tainan and Kaohsiung. In 1942, Japanese set up a factory in Anshun, Tainan. At this time the output reached 530,000 metric tons.
In 1947, the Taiwan Provincial Chief Executive's Office of Monopoly received all the salt assets of the Japanese in Taiwan and established the Tainan Salt Industry Company to continue the monopoly system. In 1952 they set up six salt fields. The Taiwan salt industry has since entered the state-run period. In addition, Japan still had demand for Taiwanese salt after the war. Therefore, the Taiwan Provincial Salt Bureau and the Japan Trade Department signed the "Taiwan Salt Sales Day Contract" in 1950, totaling 360,000 tons. 

In 1980 the low-capacity salt field were closed, the overall trend of salt fields area and production in Taiwan was rising. In 1962 it surpassed the level of the Japanese occupation for the first time. The total annual output reached 560,000 metric tons and it was exported in large quantities. In 1953-1966 the average annual export of salt to Japan was 200,000 metric tons. In 1980 it was the historical peak of the area and output of salt fields in Taiwan. However, the output at this time was only enough to supply 30% of Taiwan's industrial salt demand. At this time, Taiwan's salt was subject to high salt prices. The company cooperated with the French company Midi in 1970s. In 1973, the company introduced the salt collector of the company. Later, it introduced the crawler truck with the cooperation, but the truck imported from abroad. The belt conveyor developed by the previous Taiwan Salt was unable to adapt to the salt field environment in Taiwan. It helped to reduce the unit cost of salt collection from 72 yuan to 37 yuan.

However, in the end, it was limited by Taiwan's climate. Taiwan's plan to reduce production costs and increase competitiveness was still a failure. In 2002 all salt fields were closed. In November of the same year, the official shares were withdrawn from the Taiwan Salt Company, and Taiwan Salt was transformed into a private company. At the same time, the salt monopoly was also abolished.



The remains of salt companies in Anping

Taiwan Salt Japanese style dormitory (安平靜苑) was stablished in 1919. At that time a large number of factories, warehouses, offices and dormitories were built around salt washing factory on the bang of Yanghang Canal. [pictures above]
You can also visit Merchant house (英商德記洋行) and Anping tree house (安平樹屋). The trading company constructed merchant house and warehouse in 1867. In 1911 those buildings was turned into office and warehouse of Japan Salt Company. After World War II became an office for Tainan Salt Company but later abandoned. In 1979 Tainan Municipal Government took this building and with sponsoring of Chi Mei it was changed into museum.
The building is overgrown with trees. In 2004 bridges and wood road was built to let people visit.


 




Address:

1. No. 196號, Gubao Street, Anping District, Tainan City, 708
2. 708, Tainan City, Anping District, 安北路233巷1弄12號
3. No. 108, Gubao Street, Anping District, Tainan City, 708

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