A Walking Museum of Wooden Buckets Chang Yu 桶桶都會做的老練巧手製桶專家─張雨
When it comes to wooden buckets, many people will related it to the trendy spa as an excellent bathing tool. But long before spa becomes so popular, wooden buckets were already prevalent home supplies during the Japanese occupation era. With Taiwanese high quality wood and Japanese crafting techniques, bucket-making has become an unique crafting skill.
Chang Yu, an expert of making wooden buckets, lives by the railway at the end of Wufu Road. The signboard "Mao-fa" of the shop was blown off during one typhoon, however, there is no need to reconstruct it since the shop is already famous enough among loyal customers.
Born in 1927, Chang Yu is a member of Hsitzuwan swimming club. Swimming every morning makes him look younger than his actual age. As a frequent mountain-climber, Chang Yu has conquered not only Tzaishan but also tougher mountains such as Yushan (Mountain Jade). As a result, he can still create those perfect hand-made wooden buckets with ease.
Chang learned bucket-making as an apprentice at the age of 15 in Lukang. In his youth, he has been to Yilan county, Taipei and Yuanlin town to master the crafting skill. He settled in Kaohsiung when he came here forty years ago. Whether it's Taiwanese, Classic or Japanese style, all can be perfectly made by him. " I can make almost every kind of bucket!" Chang said with confidence and self-esteem.
With vivid memory, Chang Yu speaks in a rather fast way. He does not only have a clear idea of every kind of buckets about their sizes and method of making, but also knows in detail about the origin and function. Bathing bucket, for example, used to have a corner space for burning coal to keep the water warm. Moreover, decades ago, wooden buckets played important roles in women's dowries.
Chang's customers can be found everywhere, including overseas fans from Japan. For once there is a client searching for a special bucket, and Chang is the only craftsman who can take his order and satisfy his requirement. Therefore, it is not exaggeration to call Chang Yu a walking museum of wooden buckets.
Nowadays, Chang works 4 to 5 hours a day. Because his shop also serves as a gathering place for members of the swimming club, it is always full of friends and happiness. Compared with busy early days, Chang leads a more relaxing half-retried life now. He also travels abroad quite often. Before retiring, Chang hopes to make every style of buckets he knows to preserve this unique form of art, letting more people learn about the changes in Taiwan's life style through these buckets. What is bucket-making? For Chang, he gives his definition with a Taiwanese proverb: "Knowing how to do is better than merely watching; and mastering is the best!"
現代人提到木桶，多半會聯想到近年因 spa 養生風潮盛行而受注目的泡澡木桶，但其實在台灣，木桶曾是早年大量使用的家用品，尤其日治時代因為日本人對木桶特別講究、製桶技術精良，加上喜歡用台灣的木材，使得台灣的木桶製作也成了一門特殊的功夫。