Taipei--A huge log of an ancient Taiwan cypress has recently been bought back to Taiwan after the tree -- estimated to be 1,600 years old -- was chopped down in the forest of Alishan and shipped to Japan during the Japanese colonial period from 1895 to 1945.
Taiwanese collector Tu Hsi-lin (???), who resides in the northern Taiwan county of Miaoli, showed the log to local reporters on Wednesday, saying that it took him several months to buy the log from its Japanese owner and have it shipped back to Taiwan.
According to Tu, he discovered the log of Taiwan cypress, a species endemic to Taiwan, at the home of a Japanese friend a few months ago.
After asking about the history of the 2,800-kilogram log, which has a distinct burl, he learned that it had been in the Japanese friend's family for over six decades, Tu said.
When Japan ruled Taiwan in the early 20th century, the Japanese government found Taiwan cypress forests on Alishan in southern Taiwan, and began a massive logging operation to extract the wood, considered in Japan to be a premium construction material.
Tu became convinced that the log he saw in Japan was among the Alishan cypresses chopped down and shipped to Japan during the Japanese colonial period.
After experts identified the tree's age, he learned that it was about 1,600 years old, and that the huge burl on one side of the log is the reason it has been preserved in its original state, Tu said.
Tu did not divulge the cost of buying the log and shipping it back to Taiwan, but he said he is planning to build a gallery in Miaoli to exhibit the wood.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel