Taiwanese and Romans springs
06, Oct 2007 05:31
Taiwan is volcanic because its location. It is on the edge of two mainland plates. Frequent plate movements bring a lot of earthquakes, volcanic terrains, and plenty hot springs. However, ancient Taiwanese did not make good utilities of the hot springs comparing to Romans.
In the ancient age, there were many different isolated tribes living in Taiwan. Some of them just treated hot springs as a place to take a bath in their normal life. Some thought the hot springs were the "witch's place" because of the yellow sulphurous smell and smoke. For example, Beitou hot spring is the most famous hot spring in Taiwan. The name "Beitou", in local Ketagalan language, means "witch's residence". Therefore, ancient Ketagalan people did not approach the hot spring. Han people from mainland China before 1890s were not interested in the hot springs. They just mined the surphur to make gun powder.
The modern Taiwanese spring culture actually came from Japanese. Japanese governed Taiwan from 1896 to 1945. Because they are obsessed with hot springs, they survey many Taiwan's hot springs. Japanese believe that hot springs provide good cure, and they made some buildings around the hot spring to be sanatoriums for local police officers and injured soldiers back from combats. Beitou was the biggest sanatorium for high rank army officers in Taiwan from 1913. The hot spring in Taiwan became a place for tourists and patients since Japanese governed period.
In the ancient time, native tribes correlated hot springs with the unknown powers. Celts made the temple near the springs for goddess Sulis; Katagalan recognized it as witch's power. That may be due to the different kinds of the hot spring components. Katagalan's hot spring is sulphur spring and not easy to feel good for people. Romans and Japanese hold similar recognition to the hot springs. Both them utilize hot springs for soldiers and patients. I believe the similarity comes from their similar philosophy-make things useful for people.
Comparing the differences and similarities between Romans and Japanese attitudes, they all utilize the hot springs to cure people and also develop the hot springs to an attractive place including social function. However, Romans still treated the hot springs as a sacred place. They built temples and separated sacred springs and baths. Japanese generally doesn't connect the magic power to the hot springs except in some art and literature works. This attitude also affected Taiwanese. Therefore you can not easily find sacred buildings accompanying with the springs. Some Taiwanese springs have small temples besides them, and most of them are built by the reasons from different local stories.