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Press Release

"Bestowing Longevity -- Fang Chih-Ming's Turtle Collection" American Cultural Center February 9 - April 20, 1998

PR9805E | Date: 1998-02-06

The American Cultural Center lobby display cases will showcase "Bestowing Longevity -- Fang Chih-ming's Turtle Collection" a small-scale craft exhibition, February 9-April 20, 1998.

The American Cultural Center lobby area is open to the public from 9:30 a.m. until 6:00 p.m. Monday through Friday and from noon until 6:00 p.m. on Saturdays. It will be closed Sundays and for holidays on February 16 and 28, March 29, and April 4 and 5, 1998. The American Cultural Center is located at 54 Nan Hai Road, Taipei.

Included in the exhibition "Bestowing Longevity -- Fang Chih-ming's Turtle Collection" are about 120 representations of turtle from around the world in various sizes and media, including gold, silver, bronze, iron, tin, ceramics, porcelain, stone, wood, and crystal.

Fang Chih-ming's fascination with turtles dates back to his childhood, when he dreamed of a turtle while he was studying and the next day did well on his examination. While browsing in a store after the exam, Fang discovered a pair of turtles just like the ones he had seen in the dream, and they became the first items in his collection. Over ten years, Fang has built up a collection of more than 600 turtles from more than 30 countries. To respect life and protect the environment, Fang decided not to raise turtles or to keep turtle specimens.

Traditionally, a turtle symbolizes longevity and represents water, which refers to wealth in Chinese geomancy (feng shui). Through his study of turtles Fang has documented the origins of idioms associated with turtles. For example, "chin-kuei-hsu" (golden turtle son-in-law) is from the Tang Dynasty, when "chin-kuei" (golden turtle) was a government officer of the highest rank, and thus a good match parents wished to make for their daughters. Fang also is fascinated with the "turtle bread" used for religious ceremonies in Taiwan, and found beautiful folk art decorations in the carved molds for turtle bread. He collects the wooden molds to preserve this fading handicraft technique.