On my walking tour around Da-tong and Zhongshan Districts a few weeks ago, I was surprised to discover that Shuanglian Market has become a major tourist attraction for Japanese visitors. Having a peculiar preference for traditional markets, I swore to take a look at the market in person one day.
Shuanglian Market is an open-air market, with a long and narrow street as the center lying against a small park running parallel. More vendors and shops nestle in alleys that extend from it. This is a perfect venue for sketchers because there are benches everywhere. I chose the end of street where the fruit wagons gathered because I found it a local cultural feature here. Meanwhile, the memory of my sketching in freezing Europe last year at this time surged back. I couldn't help thinking, Taiwan is such a fantastic place in winter for sketching!
In London, I ran into vendors that borrowed me a chair or offered me fish for free. In Taipei, it was mostly leisurely passers-by who came for a look at my sketchbook. There was also a very friendly middle-aged man who complained about not being in the picture. One lady from Southeast Asia working as a maid here gave her compliment in English. Though I wasn't so popular among vendors here, I think traditional markets in Taiwan are second to none. I can totally understand why Japanese are curious about this part of my culture.
There were endless inspirations for me. In the middle of the street is the Temple of Wenchang Emperor, who is known for blessing people with good luck in studies and taking exams. I was ambitious enough to take on the challenge of drawing the temple. However, after I finished all the details in front of the temple, I realized the image is already full. Thus, I apologized very sincerely to Wenchang Emperor before leaving.
I'll come back. It takes months or even a year to record such a colorful market. Tomorrow I am heading for Yunlin. Hopefully the market there is equally inspiring!