Eye on the Road

Weird art on the way up Honglusai Mountain
Weird art on the way up Honglusai Mountain.

It is hard not to notice the giant freaking eyeball and neon orange head hanging out at the side of the road leading up Hōnglúsāi Mountain 烘爐塞山 at the southern edge of Zhōnghé 中和, Taiwan. After taking in the scene I jokingly came up with a new slogan for the tourist bureau; “Taiwan: don’t ask why!” But of course that’s not really my style—I always like getting to the bottom of the seemingly inexplicable things I encounter in my travels here.

An artist’s studio in southern Zhonghe
An artist’s studio in southern Zhonghe.

I have, alas, been flummoxed in attempting to puzzle out what these objects are all about. There’s a sign on a shed next door for Harvest Ground Art Model 禾果美術模型, an industrial design studio, but it isn’t clear from their online presence whether they’d be responsible for such things.

Eye on the side of the road in Zhonghe
Looking back at the eye at the side of the road.

The next building over is home to more strange statues: western comic book heroes and Indigenous figurines. Further up the mountain one will find an entire herd of dinosaurs, not to mention the oversized statue of Tǔdìgōng 土地公, apparently the largest in Taiwan, which is readily visible from the base of the mountain. Altogether it is quite a random ride up Xìngnán Road Lane 399 興南路399巷!

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