Lonely Planet Writer

Visit the bamboo house inspired by traditional Taiwanese fishing traps

A beautiful and intricately-designed bamboo house has been installed on a pier at Sun Moon Lake, Ita Thao in Taiwan, open to the public to visit.

The completed Fish Trap House at Sun Moon Lake in Taiwan.
The completed Fish Trap House at Sun Moon Lake in Taiwan. Image by Chong Sheng Hsu

Created by bamboo artist Cheng-Tsung Feng, Fish Trap House is based on the traditional river-fishing snares of the indigenous Thao tribe, and was constructed in a workshop with the assistance of over 20 tourists from all over the world. The project saw the Sun Moon Lake National Scenic Area Administration inviting Cheng-Tsung Feng to make a public art piece in the area, finding his past work that focused on traditional folk craft and natural materials. The initial phase saw him taking fieldwork trips around Sun Moon Lake, as well as learning about the Thao and Bunun tribes.

Students in the workshop creating the weaves for the installation.
Students in the workshop creating the weaves for the installation. Image by Chien Hao Lin

“We visited some people’s homes and nature areas, schools, public buildings and I saw many old traditional handmade items, such as weaving machines, cloth, stone houses and hunting tools. Items usually made with natural materials and sourced from a long time ago, passed down by families in the tribe, generation by generation. These things touched me so much, so I planned to learn how to make some of them,” Cheng-Tsung Feng told Lonely Planet Travel News.

Artist Cheng-Tsung Feng with the piece.
Artist Cheng-Tsung Feng with the piece. Image by Chong Sheng Hsu

Having met the tribe, Cheng-Tsung Feng got the opportunity to speak to Masawsang Lhkashnawanan, an elder who shared his knowledge, culture, stories and skills with him.  It was that process that inspired the idea for the open-air installation. “This artwork won’t be used to catch fish, but rather people’s attention. It’s a special aesthetic that looks as though the empty surfaces cover each other, inside and outside, empty and light like air. By combining different shapes of each part of the skeleton, it created a shape that can change and transform, hopefully attracting people to walk closer and start to know Thao’s culture,” the artist said.

The piece was made with the traditional methods of local indigenous tribes.
The piece was made with the traditional methods of local indigenous tribes. Image by Chong Sheng Hsu

Due to be in the same location for the next six months, Fish Trap House allows visitors to stop in, take a photo, have a picnic or tea party or simply take a rest.

More information on Cheng-Tsung Feng’s work is available at his official website.