Friday, April 03, 2015

Then and Now: Mt Banping

The image above, from the East Asia Image Collection, shows Banpingshan in what is now Kaohsiung (map link), in the Japanese era. Wiki says:
During the Qing Dynasty rule of Taiwan, the mountain was the site of the most important limestone quarry in Taiwan. After the quarry was closed in 1997, the mountain was turned into a nature park. Vegetation is used for its slope protection and the old cement plant's grit removal pond was transformed into Banping Lake Wetland Park in the neighboring Zuoying District.
I got to searching for some images and stories about the limestone quarry, and I found this thesis about fengshui and Banpingshan which was filled with pics. In the abstract the thesis says that "Because of the specific geology, the geomantic records describe Banping Mountain as a dangerous mountain implying ill omens." The two images above, according to the text, show the mountain as it appeared between 1895 and 1950. The angle is nearly the same as in the image at the top. The mountain was originally over 200 meters high, but extensive limestone quarrying over two centuries removed the top layer of the mountain, reducing its height to 200 meters by 1895 and then again to its current 180 meters. The graphic below is from that thesis, the topmost line is the original Qing height, the middle line is the Japanese era height, and the green line is the extant mountain.

In 1917 the Japanese built a concrete firm below the quarry, which eventually was transferred to the incoming KMT after the war. Three concrete firms eventually ended up there. The text of the thesis does not say, but this image above I think shows the concrete and limestone in the post-1950 period.

Another shot of the concrete company and the quarry, taken in 1961, according to the text.

Here is Banping Mountain today, from Wiki. This speech notes that in 2004 the Kaohsiung city government decided to whack away the southern tip of the mountain to put in a road. The Kaohsiung metro tunneled right through the center of it. Today it is a nature park and wetland district with walkways and good views over the city.
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1 comment:

Mike Fagan said...

I know it well since I used to do laps of that lake on the bicycle years ago when I still lived in Kaohsiung. I remember someone telling me about the fenshui thesis at the time (though I don't remember who it was).