Xinwu Century-old Stone Weirs(新屋百年石滬群)
What’s there to do other than watching the waves and swimming in the ocean in Xinwu? Let’s hear about the stories of the hundred-year-old Stone Weirs! You will be amazed by how human and the nature can maintain such balanced relationship. You will also be surprised by how the wisdom of our ancestors is embodied into a bunch of normal looking rocks. The largest stone weirs in Taiwan await your discovery!
Xinwu Stone Weirs date back to the Qing Dynasty. Predecessors of Pingpu Tribe arrived in Taiwan to reclaim. They took pebbles from where they were and started building weirs hundreds meters and even thousands meters high with bare hands. At that time, there were no machines to help with the construction, so a single stone weir would require the labor of a whole village. Weirs of larger scale took more than 10 years to complete. The building process was simultaneously building the strong bonds between people. The function of a weir is to lure schools of fish into the weir when the tide rises. Later when ebb tide occurs, fishermen would collect the fish trapped inside the weir. There are 10 stone weirs in the area between the North coast of Shenzhen and Kejian. Weir No.3 is the largest among all, measuring 472 meters in length and 273 meters in width. Weir No.5 once captured a fish haul that weighed 1,000 jins (600 kilograms).
The century-old stone weirs consist of a great sea wall on the West coast of Taiwan. Not only is it a cultural relic but also a great spot to observe coastal ecology. Creatures of the tidal flat like oyster, shrimp and crab are abundant. When the tide rises, anemones bloom like undersea flowers. The 2016 Taoyuan Land Art Festival held an event called “Thousand-men built stone weirs” which invited experienced masters to pass down the weir-building knowledge and techniques to the young people who care about local culture. The stone weirs toady no longer bears the burden of fishermen’s livelihood. Rather, it is the living proof of our ancestors’ wisdom.