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Windows in Taiwan

Updated on February 7, 2013
BlossomSB profile image

Bronwen has lived in, taught in and visited a number of countries and loves to share these travel experiences with others.

A Definition of a Window

Everyone knows what a window is, or do they? My dictionary defines a window as an opening that is fitted with glass and a frame to let in light or air and to allow people to see out. This definition probably suits most of the houses we live in and even the windows of my car.

However, I cannot find a definition that will cover all the windows I photographed in Taiwan, a few of which are shown here. Some of these windows are barred, some have no glass and some have unusual shapes and reveal a view like that of a picture-frame. This presents a dilemma: what should we call them? Or should we redefine the word, 'window'?

Then there is another problem: the size of the window. If it may be walked through does that make it a doorway instead? But the windows that can be stepped through in Taiwan parks, for instance, do not have doors, so can they be correctly called doorways?

Barred Window
Barred Window | Source

The Barred Window

Many small, traditional style houses in Taiwan, especially in the older parts of cities or in countryside villages have bars on the windows. Not all of these are glazed.

They do have a frame and they let in light and air, but they do not fulfil all the prerequisites in the definition of a window, yet they are windows. What else could we call them? Frequently, the unglazed, barred window will have strong wooden shutters inside to protect the occupants from wind and rain in times of storms and typhoons.

Upstairs Windows
Upstairs Windows | Source

Decorative Windows

In the photograph above, the windows onto the balcony are glazed and narrow. They are decorated around the frames with different coloured paints and special, traditional designs, each of which has significance.

Other types of decorative windows have been especially designed, such as the shaped window on the left in the same building. For the people inside it provides an interesting frame around the view to the outside world.

For the people of Taiwan, with their long heritage of culture, arts and crafts are a way of life. Many things which we observe as being strictly utilitarian are valued and enjoyed for the different ways in which they can be presented. It is not just a window, it is a work of art.

Window in a Park
Window in a Park | Source
A markerTaipei City -
Taipei City, Taiwan
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There are many beautiful parks in and around Taipei City

Park Windows

The delightful butterfly window in the photograph above has been carefully designed to allow a tantalising glimpse of the trees and shrubs in another part of the park on the other side of the wall.

The design of special windows in parks in Taiwan is amazingly varied. In the Capital, Taipei, there is a large park that has a huge, high wall that surrounds the whole park. Along the length of this wall there must be a hundred small, unglazed windows placed at intervals and not one of those windows is an exact replica of any other.

The park windows offer glimpses of the tree-cooled interior. Here people sit, nibble at snacks, watch over children who run around exploring the gardens or enjoy the ambience. Another window reveals a secluded corner where a lone man plays a melancholy tune on a Chinese stringed instrument. If the passer-by outside strains his ears as he hurries along in the hot sun, beset by noisy, frenetic traffic, he hears the gentle moan of the music.

Through a further window there is a quick view of a group of elderly gentlemen in traditional robes sitting around under shady trees, idly chatting. Some have brought small bamboo cages and strung them up in the lower branches of the trees. They stop talking to listen as their pet songbirds in the cages merrily start up and join together in happy chorus.

Unusual Shapes that Surprise
Unusual Shapes that Surprise | Source

Decorative Shapes

The numerous parks that are dotted in and around the city of Taipei are peaceful refuges and rest for the eyes after all the high-rise buildings. Here, for no apparent reason apart from the enjoyment of art, we find graceful shapes hidden away in unexpected corners.

These shapes are like windows that open up another vista, but they do not fulfil the definition of a window. Some of the decorative shapes are to be found as integral parts of public buildings in the park. The buildings may be a memorial, a rest-house or a refreshment kiosk. The decorative 'windows' connected with them provide surprising vistas of other corners, perhaps inside the park, perhaps outside.

An Interesting Perspective
An Interesting Perspective | Source

A Window or a Doorway

In the photograph above there is a pathway where people enjoy walking for both pleasure and exercise. At intervals there are large windows, or are they doorways? They add to the conundrum: our definition of a doorway is that it must have a door, and that should be hinged!

The circular arches must be stepped over as one progresses along the path to see and enjoy the next 'garden room' of the park. Here, they all look like circles, but each is subtly different. The need to slow down to step over gives time to appreciate the work that has gone into making the particular shape and design of each doorway decoration. The shape also provides a frame for the next attraction.

Beauty is indeed in the eye of the beholder, but it is also in the eye and purpose of the designer and builder who is influenced by hundreds of years of culture and tradition.

Decorative Framework
Decorative Framework | Source

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    • BlossomSB profile image
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      Bronwen Scott-Branagan 4 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      thost: They are interesting. I also enjoy Italian architecture with the windows on each level being of a different design. Thank you for your vote.

    • thost profile image

      thost 4 years ago from Dublin, Ireland

      Very interesting, windows have always fascinated me. Vote up.

    • BlossomSB profile image
      Author

      Bronwen Scott-Branagan 4 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      Hundreds and even thousands of years and yes, we do have so much we can learn from each other. I really enjoyed living there and still continue friendships made there. May you have happy holy-days, too, and a blessed Christmas.

    • stars439 profile image

      stars439 4 years ago from Louisiana, The Magnolia and Pelican State.

      The ways, and knowledge of the oriental people go way back hundreds of years. So much to be learned from their lovely ways. Happy Holidays.

    • BlossomSB profile image
      Author

      Bronwen Scott-Branagan 4 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      Gladys Familaran: I haven't written any more hubs on Taiwan as yet, although it features in some of them such as the one on topiary. I should write some. It is not very big, but has high mountains, beautiful scenery and friendly people. I'll be looking forward to reading some of your hubs, so do start writing soon, I'm sure they'll be interesting.

    • Gladys Familaran profile image

      Gladys Familaran 4 years ago

      So this is how windows look like in Taiwan. Thank you for the photos Blossom. I'll check your other hubs if there are other photos of Taiwan. I wish to go there to see not only the windows and the scenery but also my favorite actor who happens to live there, forever Jerry Yan. ^_^

    • BlossomSB profile image
      Author

      Bronwen Scott-Branagan 4 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      Lipnancy: They are so interesting and decorative. Glad you enjoyed the photos.

      Eiddwen: Thank you for visiting, my friend Eddy. God bless you.

    • Eiddwen profile image

      Eiddwen 4 years ago from Wales

      A wponderful shae ;uunique and interesring, I vote across/up and share. Have a wonderful day my friend.

      Eddy.

    • Lipnancy profile image

      Nancy Yager 4 years ago from Hamburg, New York

      I did not know of these windows and doorways. The pictures really sell this hub.

    • BlossomSB profile image
      Author

      Bronwen Scott-Branagan 4 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      Thank you. Glad you enjoyed it.

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      Sayif 4 years ago

      Hi, Very nice your topic for taiwan window. Thanx for info. http://medicalstips.blogspot.com

    • BlossomSB profile image
      Author

      Bronwen Scott-Branagan 4 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      Yes, but I'm not sure how it could be done to describe all the different kinds of window. According to the definition of a doorway, it has to have a door, so that one's a puzzle, too! Thank you for your comments.

    • MarleneB profile image

      Marlene Bertrand 4 years ago from Northern California, USA

      This is quite a tribute to windows. And, like you mentioned, it seems that it may be time to reclassify the meaning of windows. I really enjoy the windows that people can step through. But, like you said, maybe it should be considered a doorway. I really enjoyed reading and seeing the photos.

    • BlossomSB profile image
      Author

      Bronwen Scott-Branagan 4 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      Frank Atanacio: Thank you for visiting. I'm glad you enjoyed it.

      tobusiness: I'm glad you loved the images. I had so many it was quite difficult to choose, as I found the designs interesting and intriguing.

      mours sshields: They were new and fascinating for me, too, and it was fun to have the opportunity to share.

    • profile image

      mours sshields 4 years ago from Elwood, Indiana

      Really interesting and fascinating! I'm sure it was for you, as well (to see, in person). Unique. I've never seen many windows and doors like some of these.

      Marcia Ours

    • tobusiness profile image

      Jo Alexis-Hagues 4 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

      Blossom, thank you so much for this tantalising glimpse through the windows of Taiwan, beautifully done, loved the images.

    • Frank Atanacio profile image

      Frank Atanacio 4 years ago from Shelton

      you know what blossoms.. educational and entertaining .. thank you :)