Let the Photos tell the Story — Part 8


A shell-relief masterpiece using mother-of-pearl, sea urchin, and other marine life. Many of the political inmates boasted artistic training, and their creations won the admiration of everyone. That the prisoners were able to buy daily necessities brought relief. The creations could also be used as presents for other prisoners. For the mainlander political prisoners who had no family to provide relief, the income to be had from selling shellfish to the camp canteen was of some help to their living conditions. (provided by Chen Peng-Ying, Lin Yieh-shen)

The top and bottom panels of this violin were carved from wood salvaged from the maplewood deck of a shipwreck, while the ribs were made of cypress which was taken from a window panel of a camp structure that had been blown down in a storm, boiled to soften, then shaped in a mold. The neck of the violin and the bow were fabricated using the hardwood handle of a discarded hoe. The E and A strings were made of wire taken from a discarded electrical cable, while the D and G strings were made of brass wire wound on a specially made jig. The bow string was fashioned of fiber made from the stem of the Dracaena angustifolia. (provided by Lin Yieh-shen, Chen Meng-ho) 

Outside of labor and classroom 

instruction, the prisoners still had free time for such activities as transcribing guitar practice books by hand. The musical staff lines were made applying ink to a potato which had been carved into a lined stamp. (provided by Wu Shui-teng) 

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