Taiwan travels: Ding Family Old House and Lukang Folk Arts Museum

Richard Brown
2 min readFeb 18, 2024

The highlight of my visit to Lukang was the Ding Family Old House, the former home of a prosperous merchant family that moved there from the southern Fujian city of Quanzhou in 1821.

The house was completed in around 1880 and is situated in the former commercial centre of Lukang. It consists of three buildings and two courtyards and features some elegant wooden structures and intricate carvings. The front building accommodated the family’s trading operations and is now used for exhibitions of local artwork. The buildings and courtyards behind it are quite well preserved and house some fascinating displays of ancestral shrines, sedan chairs, furniture, and other artifacts from the period.

At the rear of the Ding Family Old House is the much more palatial former residence of the affluent Koo family. Completed in 1919, this became the Lukang Folk Arts Museum in 1973 after the buildings, furniture, and other items were donated by the family to promote the preservation of the town’s culture.

The museum has a rich collection of Ming and Qing dynasty artifacts, ranging from porcelain, lacquer ware, and embroidery to musical instruments, and Daoist and Buddhist religious objects. Other exhibits include an extensive display of Taiwan folk art, traditional crafts, puppets, household items, historical documents, and vintage photographs that depict the daily life, religious practices, and festive traditions of Lukang.

My favourite part of the museum was the traditional Fujian-style house at the rear of the main building, which is said to be over two hundred years old. Like the Ding Family Old House, it provides a fascinating glimpse of how the local elite lived when Lukang was at the height of its prosperity.

--

--

Richard Brown

I live in Taiwan and am interested in exploring what ancient Chinese philosophy can tell us about technology and the rise of modern China.