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二呆藝館於1990年9月28日開幕啟用,典藏趙同和千餘件藝術作品。回顧30年的館舍經營,以「耕耘」為本展核心,規劃「耕耘臺灣」、「耕耘機時代」、「一分耕耘  一分收獲」及「修理耕耘機」4子題。

The Erdai Art Hall was opened on September 28th, 1990, with a collection of more than a thousand artworks by Zhao, Tong-he (Zhao, Er-dai
Looking back on the 30 years of management of the Erdai Art Hall, we consider “cultivation” as the core of this special exhibition. In line with this, we organized four sub-topics for the exhibition: “Cultivation in Taiwan,” “the Era of Cultivators,” “No Pain, No Gain,” and “the Restoration of ‘Cultivator’”.   

Cultivation in Taiwan


Accompanied by the ancestors for reclamation, water buffaloes crossed the sea to Taiwan in the early years. However, yellow cattle were imported from Southeast Asia during Dutch colonial rule. In the Japanese colonial period, painters and photographers often used water buffalo as the subject in their artworks. For example, “The Water Buffalo” painted by Huang, Tu-shui, “The Way Back” painted by Lin, Yu-shan, as well as various landscape postcards. At the beginning of the Taiwan Restoration (1956), there were 329 926 buffaloes in Taiwan. This was also the highest number of buffalo breeding at the time. When Zhao, Er-dai came to Taiwan in 1950, buffaloes could be seen in many places as a common sight.    


From 1964 to 1971, Zhao, Er-dai served as the General Manager of Taiwan Agricultural and Industrial Development Co., Ltd. He managed the operations of Chia-Yi Advanced Machinery Co., Ltd, Gangshan Fishing Materials Co., Ltd, Magong Freezing Co., Ltd, Kaohsiung Fisheries Division, and the Taichung Flour Mill Co., Ltd. The Keelung Flour Mill was burnt down in 1966 and resumed in 1969.    
Water terraces in Northern Taiwan were distributed from Sanzhi, Shimen, Jinshan, and Wanli, along the mountains in Pinglin and Zhiding, all the way to Gongliao and Shuangxi. Zhao, Er-dai’s two paintings titled “Water Terrance” in 1971 and 1973 were probably a preview of the villa he bought in Baisha Bay, Taipei (now Shimen, New Taipei City) in 1979.

The Era of Cultivators


At the end of the 19th century, agricultural mechanization was promoted and large tractors began to be used in the United States. These tractors were introduced in Taiwan during the Japanese colonial period. However, individual farmers could not accept the price and performance; therefore, they were only used in some sugar and development companies.    

戰後在中國農村復興聯合委員會(農復會)的主導下,農業機械化逐漸落實。1950 年代中期引進日本 Merry tiller 耕耘機,是適合小農戶使用之耕耘機,並在各地農業試驗改良場進行實驗與示範。其後國內貿易商進口 Merry tiller 耕耘機,稱為「美利鐵牛」耕耘機或「快樂農夫」耕耘機。同時,政府也輔導農業機械公司的設立,如中國農業機械公司於1960年設立,主要和日本野馬農機公司與井關農機公司進行技術合作;新臺灣農業機械公司成立於1961年,則與日本久保田農業機械公司合作。兩家公司成立後,讓臺灣的農業機械化進入新的階段。

After World War II, agricultural mechanization was gradually implemented under the leadership of the Joint Commission on Rural Reconstruction. Merry tiller cultivators from Japan were introduced in the mid-1950s and were suitable for small farmers. Experiments and operational tests were carried out in many agricultural research and extension stations. Subsequently, the Merry Tiller cultivators were imported by a domestic trader and were commonly called “Merry Iron Bull” or “Happy Farmer” cultivators (in Chinese). At the same time, the government also guided the establishment of agricultural machinery companies. Established in 1960, the National Agricultural Engineering Corporation mainly worked with Yanmar Agricultural Equipment Co., Ltd and Iseki Co., Ltd in Japan as a technological corporation. Established in 1961, Shin Taiwan Agricultural Machinery Co., Ltd (now Shin Taiwan Kubota Co., Ltd) works with Kubota Corporation in Japan. After the establishment of these two companies, Taiwan’s agricultural mechanization entered a new phase.        


In the Erdai Art Hall, there are two artworks with the theme of cultivators. They depict the evolution of Taiwan’s agriculture in the 1960s as well as foreshadow the employment of Zhao, Er-dai in Taiwan Agricultural and Industrial Development Co., Ltd.  

No Pain, No Gain


Zhao, Er-dai lived at No. 15 Wenzhou Street, Taipei from 1966 to 1975. There is an inscription on a painting with gourds he did in 1973: “These are the gourds grown in my house.” The heritage of Chinese culture is clearly evident through the gourds in his house.    


A gourd is a vegetable as well as a container. In Chinese culture, a gourd is pronounced similarly as “Fu-Lu” (blessing and fortune), and its stems or vines are pronounced similarly as “Wan-Dai” (thousands of generations). Therefore, planting a gourd means blessings and fortune for the generations to follow. 


In the Erdai Art Hall, there are four pieces of Zhao, Er-dai’s artworks with gourds. They accurately express the ripening process of green gourds step by step.  

The Restoration of “Cultivator”


The purpose of restoring a painting not only extends the preservation period of the artwork but also retains the visual aesthetics for viewers. In 2021, the Penghu County Cultural Affairs Bureau commissioned Ms Peng, Sheue-fang to have the painting “Cultivator” restored.



He, Gong-shang (1968) commented on Er-dai’s artworks. He said, “his works are neither abstract nor concrete and they are neither modern nor traditional. In his ink-wash paintings, he only hopes to express a little harmony and balance that reality lacks.” He also said, “although he is a General Manager, his life is very simple. He is given a company car for use but he never needs a driver. He often drives to Taiping Village in Taichung alone. He has a farm of 142,336 square feet where he and his children personally plant flowers and fruit and raise chickens. Like a farmer wearing rough clothes and going barefoot, he enjoys writing poems about his pastoral pleasures and publishes them in newspapers.”  


The period of martial law in Taiwan was from 1949 to 1987. In the late 1950s, the emergency of the modern art movement in Taiwan was that it was a path to avoid confronting reality. In the 1970s, the Republic of Taiwan was formally expelled from the United Nations. This inspired local artists to reflect on the art movement of the previous decade as well as reexamine cultural Taiwan. Art historians call this period “the nativist movement in art.”  

When the nativist movement was popular in the 1970s, Zhao, Er-dai continued to focus on land in Taiwan. Because of his background, he only mentioned politics and the “red disaster” in a few poems and essays. On the contrary, he devoted more time and effort to his artistic creation.     

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