Phantasmagoric Venues from the West to the East: Studies on the Great Exhibition (1851) and the Taiwan Exhibition (1935)

Ping Sheng Wu, Min Fu Hsu

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1 Citation (Scopus)


This research focuses primarily on the Taiwan Exhibition (1935) with particular reference to its archetype, the Great Exhibition (1851). Through these, this paper considers the concepts and appearance of world exhibitions. It also discusses how they became a spatial venue to show “modernity” and “colonialism” in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. It starts with a description of the history and concepts of world exhibitions, and follows with a discussion of modernity and colonialism. Since the nineteenth century, world exhibitions have been regarded as the most meaningful invention of “modernity”. These not only present the exhibition of commodities, but also reflect the turning point in industrialization. However, camouflaged by the cover of modernization, world exhibitions essentially revealed the ideologies of imperialism and colonialism. Although postdating the Great Exhibition by almost eighty years, this essay will suggest that the Taiwan Exhibition, the greatest exhibition held in Japanese colonial territories, conveyed the same ideologies of modernity and colonialism. It seems that there are unexpected similarities between these two events in completely different times, 1851 and 1935, and places, the west and the east.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)237-244
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Asian Architecture and Building Engineering
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2006

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Architecture
  • Cultural Studies
  • Building and Construction
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


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