Taiwan: Sanyi Wood Sculpture Museum

I’ve been in Taiwan for the last couple of weeks, so I haven’t been in the shop. However, I got to see a lot of stuff on the trip, and now that I’m back, I can start to post about some of the wood-related things I did.

First up was a trip to Sanyi Village to see the Wood Sculpture Musuem (三義木雕博物館):


Sorry about the lack of photos inside the museum. They don’t allow photos.

If you’re into sculpture or carving at all, this museum is pretty much a must-see for the island. It contains stuff from ancient times, to the Formosan aborigines, to the Han and Hakka sculptors, to contemporary pieces from their annual contest. There are also galleries containing temporary exhibitions. Make sure you get the audio tour, especially if you can’t read Chinese characters–there is an English one available. There’s quite a lot of information in the audio tour and it takes quite a while to go through it all.

There’s also a studio inside the museum where you can see and talk to a sculptor at work with traditional carving tools. I’ll try to explain this in a later post, but I think I need to do a little more research on the matter.

The village itself is full of shops containing lots and lots of pieces for sale. A lot of this consists of the garden variety happy/laughing Buddha sculptures and carved fruit (sometimes made from cypress; take off the cap and smell inside for the effect), but there are some interesting pieces as well.

By this point, you’re probably wondering if I went tool hunting during this trip. The answer to that question is, “yes,” the answer to the next question is, “quite a bit,” and here is a sampler:


This rabbet/shoulder plane was handmade in Taiwan, somewhere in the south. I’m guessing that the wood shaping was done by machine, but the finish looks handplaned, and the blades are hand-forged. The iron is laminated. I’ll have more on this plane later, when I have a chance to play with it.

And, no, Dan, I don’t know why we both posted about weird rabbet planes on the same day.

2 thoughts on “Taiwan: Sanyi Wood Sculpture Museum

  1. Cool plane Brian! What kind of wood is that? Looks oakish. I don’t know much about Asian tools – is that setup with the two irons common? Looks like a neat and easy way to apply leverage without the fuss of a perfectly fitting wedge.

  2. Dan, I’m not quite sure what the wood is, but it does indeed look oakish, some sort of dark one. It’s very hard and pretty heavy. I should have asked about it, though I’m not sure how accurate the answer would have been.

    I’ve never seen the cap iron and blade set up as it is on this plane. It is a very tight fit. What I can say is that all of the planes I got there are wooden, and none have a wooden wedge. More later.

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