Wikimedia Taiwan/GLAM/Taiwan1000/Pacification of Taiwan

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Pacification of Taiwan (Chinese: 平定臺灣戰圖; lit. 'Painting of the Pacification of the War in Taiwan') consists of a series of copper plate etchings commissioned by the Qing emperor and portraying the battles that led to Qing army's pacification of the Lin Shuang-wen rebellion.

The Lin Shuang-wen Rebellion (Chinese: 林爽文事件; lit. 'Lin Shuangwen Incident') broke out in the 11th lunar month of 1786 (51st year of the Qianlong Emperor's reign) and was not quelled until the 2nd lunar month of 1788 (53rd year of the Qianlong Emperor's reign). It was the largest uprising that happened in Taiwan under Qing rule. This incident was commemorated as one of the Ten Great Campaigns of the Qianlong Emperor, who commissioned court painters to produce this set of etchings on the conflict to celebrate victory.

Image description[edit]

Amongst these battle etchings, 12 have currently been published by Beijing International Culture Publishing Company in Imperial Copper Plate Etchings of the Qing Era (Chinese: 林爽文事件):

(1) Battle of Zhuluo (諸羅之戰)

(I) - Zhuluo Siege

(2) Attack on Douliumen (攻克斗六門),

(3) Attack on Daliyi (攻克大里杙),

(4) Attack on the Mountain Xiaobantian (攻勦小半天山),

(5) Battle of Fangliao (枋寮之戰),

(6) Capture of Lin Shuang-wen (生擒林爽文),

(7) Capture of Zhuang Da-tian (生擒莊大田),

(8) Landing at Amoy (廈門登岸),

(9) Banquet for the Generals (凱宴諸將),

(10) Battle of Dawulong (大武壠之戰),

(11) Battle of Jijipu, and

(12) Battle of Dapulin (大埔林之戰).[1]

Additionally, 8 of these have been purchased by the National Museum of Taiwan History: (1) Subduing the Rebels in Zhuluo and Advancing to Douliumen (大剿諸賊開通諸羅並進攻斗六門), (2) Battle of Dapulin, (3) Attack on Douliumen, (4) Attack on the Mountain Xiaobantian, (5) Battle of Dawulong, (6) Battle of Fangliao, (7) Safe Return of the Victorious Baturu Warriors: Landing at Amoy (抵廈門登岸並巴圖魯侍衛等皆平安渡海凱旋), and (8) Banquet for Generals Fuk'anggan and Hailanqa (賜凱旋將軍福康安參贊海蘭察等宴). These 8 etchings are included in the set of 12 mentioned above.[2]

However, the 12 copper plate etchings do not account for all the battles related to the Lin Shuang-wen Rebellion. The etchings only record the later events that arose from this uprising, i.e., 10 important battles and 2 triumphant scenes. They occurred after the Qianlong Emperor appointed Grand Secretary Fuk'anggan to oversee military affairs in Taiwan starting from the 11th lunar month of 1787 (52nd year of the Qianlong Emperor's reign), when Fuk'anggan landed at Lukang, Taiwan, until 1788 (53rd year of the Qianlong Emperor's reign), when the rebellion was crushed and the troops returned victoriously to Mainland China.

The following is the order of Fuk'anggan's military expeditions. The subsequent sections examine the highlights of the events that correspond to each etching.[3](p152-161)

Battle of Zhuluo: On the 2nd day of the 11th lunar month of 1787 (52nd year of the Qianlong Emperor's reign), Fuk'anggan and Hailanqa landed at Lok'a'kang. After assembling their troops, they set out on the 6th. They passed Erlin and Mai'a'liao and reached Yuanchang Village on the 7th. On the 8th they battled through Lun'a'ting and Lun'a'bue and crossed Niuchou River, finally reaching Zhuluo City (after this battle, the city was renamed to Chiayi (Chinese: 嘉義; lit. 'commended righteousness') and is known today as Chiayi City). The siege was finally lifted after six months. The etching's scene is set in Zhuluo City. The outskirts of the city and the city itself are included in the image. The siege has ended and city gates are wide open. Peace has been restored. Sporadic fighting between Qing soldiers and rebels can be seen outside the city. The etching shows the situation after the besieged city surrendered.

Battle of Dapulin: After the Battle of Zhuluo, Lin Shuang-wen retreated to Douliumen. The Qing army headed north after capturing Zhuluo City. Rebel forces had occupied three villages: Zhonglin, Dapulin, and Dapuwei. The Qing army advanced in three different directions and struck the three settlements. This etching shows the cavalry and infantry of the Qing army repelling rebels along the road.

Attack on Douliumen: The Qing army arrived at Douliumen on the 21st of the 11th lunar month, 19 days after landing in Taiwan. Douliumen was the passageway to Lin Shuang-wen's base of operations at Daliyi. It was a place where the insurgent militia would congregate and store their provisions. The etching depicts the Qing army surrounding Douliumen at the center. Qing forces are seen breaking into the barriers and killing many insurgents. After the attack on Douliumen, on the 22nd, Fuk'anggan led the army to the mountain pass at Shuishalian. No remaining rebel soldiers could be seen.

Battle of Daliyi: The Qing army headed straight towards Lin's base at Daliyi after he and the insurgents retreated. This painting depicts Daliyi at the center being blasted by Qing army cannons. The rebels also possessed considerable firepower, as they are seen firing back with three cannons. This portrayal represents how intense the battle was. The fighting continued from the night of the 24th to dawn of the 25th, when the base finally fell. Yet Lin Shuang-wen had vanished.

Battle of Jijipu: On the 1st day of the 12th lunar month, the Qing army reached a narrow mountain pass known as Pinn'na'a to search for Lin. After three days of searching in the mountain, on the 4th, they reached Jijipu, and on the 5th, they began to attack. This etching shows the Qing army raiding Jijipu with superior strength. The troops march through the mountain woods and shoot the rebels with arrows and guns. The Qing soldiers have also set up cannons to barrage Jijipu. The rebel forces are seen fleeing for their lives. After being defeated in this battle, the remnants of Lin Shuang-wen's forces hid atop the Mountain Xiaobantian and prepared for a final battle, hoping that the terrain would assist them.

Attack on the Mountain Xiaobantian: On the 18th of the 12th lunar month, the Qing army split into three battalions to launch a three-pronged attack on the mountain. This painting depicts Xiaobantian at the center, with Qing forces using infantry as the main force on an uphill attack. The insurgents' wooden stronghold has been set on fire by the Qing army. Lin's forces are seen fleeing as the imperial troops carry out a massacre. Taiwanese indigenous soldiers are seen helping the Qing forces by surrounding the rebels from the other side of the mountain. This image depicts a bitter clash amidst the mountainous terrain of Xiaobantian.

Capture of Lin Shuang-wen Atop Laoquqi: After being defeated at the Battle of the Mountain Xiaobantian, Lin Shuang-wen fled deeper into the mountains. On his way north, he was ambushed by indigenous soldiers at Dongshijiao. On the 4th day of the 1st lunar month of 1788 (53rd year of the Qianlong Emperor's reign), he fled to Laoquqi, but his whereabouts were secretly reported to government troops by a friend. This portrayal divides two scenes with the forest. On one side a soldier is seen riding a horse to report the news that Lin has been captured. On the other side is Lin held in captivity with a rope around his neck.

Battle of Dawulong: On the 3rd of the 1st lunar month of 1788 (53rd year of the Qianlong Emperor's reign), General Fuk'anggan led his army south. At this time, the chief of the Taivoan people (Chinese: 大武壠, Dawulong; their main settlement was called Tevorang, translated using the same Chinese characters) came to surrender. An indigenous settlement can be seen at the top left of the picture. The etching depicts Qing forces attacking Zhuang Da-tian from three directions. From the north of Dawulong, the Qing army entered the mountain from Dazhupai. They searched to the west along the mountain, crossing Doroko and Xibu Pond. They advanced through Wanli river and Tiexian Bridge. On the 16th, the legion reached Niuzhuang; after another three days, on the 19th, they arrived at Nantan. Lin Shuang-wen's brother, Lin Yong, gathered men and attempted to secure the mountain pass at Dawulong, but they were vanquished by Qing forces. The insurgent leader during this battle, Zhuang Da-tian, led a group of people to flee to Shuidiliao, deeper into the mountains.

Battle of Fangliao: Qing forces departed from Nantan on the 20th of the 1st lunar month and reached Xiapitou on the 25th. On the 26th, Hailanqa arrived directly at Fangliao. The rebel forces could not resist the attack; many fell into the sea. When Zhuang Da-tian learned of this news, he fled to Chaicheng, outside the mountains of Longkiau. On the 4th of the 2nd lunar month, the Qing army arrived at Fenggang. Fuk'anggan offered plentiful gifts to all the indigenous settlements in Longkiau and commanded them to block the mountain pass. The next day, on the 5th, Fuk'anggan's troops departed from Fenggang. Along the way to Chaicheng, they were ambushed by Zhuang's forces. Yet with its naval force, the Qing army attacked the rebels from both land and sea. Having nowhere to escape, some were shot and fell to the ground, others were forced to throw themselves into the sea. This etching, set in the southernmost part of Taiwan, portrays Qing forces launching a joint attack via land and sea. Historian Lee Tai-han[3](p159-160) believes that this etching depicts the battle of Chaicheng outside the mountains of Longkiau, yet does not accurately represent the scale of the combat; the full size of the army is not rendered completely.

Capture of Zhuang Da-tian at Longkiau: The main scene in this etching are the houses on the coast. Wooden barriers have been built in front of the houses as protection. At this moment, the barriers have been broken through. The apprehended man is Zhuang Da-tian (Chinese: 莊大田; Pe̍h-ōe-jī: Tsng Tāi-tiân). The Qing army has completely surrounded the houses, bringing an end to the revolt. After Chaicheng fell under siege, Zhuang Da-tian led a group of people into the mountains. He and his family and followers were eventually captured.

The last two etchings depict the triumphant return of Fuk'anggan to Mainland China—Safe Return of the Victorious Baturu Warriors: Landing at Amoy—and the Qianlong Emperor holding a banquet to celebrate their victory at a mountain resort—Banquet for Generals Fuk'anggan and Hailanqa.

The Process of Its Making[edit]

In the 2nd lunar month of 1788 (53rd year of the Qianlong Emperor's reign), the Qianlong Emperor commissioned a set of etchings to record the events of the successful pacification of the Lin Shuang-wen Rebellion in detail. General Fuk'anggan sent a total of 16 war pictures from Taiwan on two occasions, which were re-rendered by the court painters and subsequently delivered to the Qianlong Emperor to select 12 of them.[3](p142-146) Landing at Amoy and Banquet for the Generals were not among the 16 pictures submitted by Fuk'anggan. Some researchers speculate that these two imperial paintings were created by the court painters based on the Qianlong Emperor's poems.

Afterwards, the Qianlong Emperor ordered seven painters including Yao Wen-han and Miao Bing-tai to produce works based on the style and size of the previous paintings themed on the pacification of Xinjiang and suppression of the Jinchuan peoples, which incorporated Western painting techniques. They spent more than a year to standardize the style and size and deliver multi-colored paintings.[3](p146-148) The drafts were produced by the Ruyi Hall and the Palace Workshops of the Internal Affairs Office were tasked with making the copper plates and printing the etchings, marking the first time the Chinese independently produced copper plate etchings of battle scenes.[3](p148-149) Each etching is inscribed with a poem by Qianlong dating from 1787 to 1789 (52nd to 54th years of the Qianlong Emperor's reign), suggesting that this set of copper plate etchings was produced after 1789.[4] Researchers generally agree that the work was completed between 1791 and 1792 (56th and 57th years of the Qianlong Emperor's reign).[3](p142)

Historical Significance and Cultural Value[edit]

In 1793 (57th year of Qianlong Emperor's reign), Pacification of Taiwan was printed and distributed to the provincial offices and various palaces for storage and display. Under the vigorous promotion of the imperial court, Qi Feng-e, a member of the Eight Banners who was serving as governor of Jiangsu at the time, obtained the etchings and sent them as samples to the lacquerware workshop partnering with the Suzhou Textiles Office. There, the images were made into a coromandel lacquer screen. It was presented to the emperor as a gift in the beginning of the 60th year of the Qianlong Emperor's reign, and later, the palace reproduced the coromandel lacquer screen by referencing its woodcarving technique, forming a technical and material exchange between the imperial court and Suzhou in the Qing era. Coromandel lacquer screens made in this region have been widely circulated and are in the collections of many museums abroad.[5](p194-195) This reflects the fact that the images have been reproduced and transformed to create different forms of media, resulting in more effective communication and publicity.

Taiwan's National Palace Museum, the National Museum of Taiwan History, the National Museum of China and the Machida City Museum of Graphic Arts in Japan, are among the museums known to have Pacification of Taiwan in their collections.[3]:140 Since these etchings are a rare depiction of the Lin Shuang-wen Rebellion, they serve as historical materials of great research value. Moreover, the work is an important artifact for illustrating relevant topics.


  1. 清代御製銅版圖北京: 北京國際文化出版. 1999.
  2. 國立臺灣歷史博物館 (2022-11-16). "《平定臺灣戰圖》". 典藏網. Retrieved 2022-11-16. 
  3. a b c d e f 李, 泰翰 (2022-11-16). "清乾隆年間臺灣戰圖製作經緯". 故宮學術季刊. 25 (2) (國立故宮博物院): 139-178 Extra |pages= or |at= (help).  Check date values in: |year= / |date= mismatch (help)
  4. 聶, 崇正 (2022-11-17). "清代宮廷銅版畫述略". 清代御製銅版畫.  Check date values in: |year= / |date= mismatch (help)
  5. 詹, 振鵬 (2018-09). "帝國紀勳與地方貢品:乾隆朝《平定臺灣得勝圖》雕漆掛屏考". 美術史研究集刊: 189-227.  Check date values in: |date= (help)