I’ve been living in Taiwan for more than ten years now but funnily enough it’s only recently that I’ve started to discover just how many odd places there are in this country. If you check the Taiwanese map for landmarks and tourist spots you’re not likely to find them, which is part of the reason it took me so long. However, if you take the time to explore the back streets, country roads and other less touristic parts of the country, and you pay a little bit of extra attention to your surroundings, you might stumble on some such place which, to my mind, is far more intriguing than big temples and other popular destinations.

One such place is Qiumaoyuan statue park. As you can see from the map link, it is marked as a tourist spot, but you have to zoom in a fair bit in order for it to show up. There are a couple different aspects that make it really odd and, as you can guess, worth visiting for anyone with even a passing interest in such things. First is that the collection of statues it houses is so incongruous; there’s a wild mix of everything from Buddha to Jesus to animals to political propaganda and anything in between – there’s even a random cowboy for some reason. Second is the low quality of the statues. Many of them have been made with fiber glass, a material which is really not suitable Taiwan’s climate. Moreover, their design is rather sub-par, with many of the them – especially the animals – having a facial expression that makes them look either surprised and/or dumb. Third is that there are a number of temples inside the park that all have the same general size and shape, but are clearly meant for worshiping different gods; sort of “select your preferred religion”. Fourth is the fact that the place is in a state of neglect. Some parts of it are overgrown with weeds, several of the statues are cracked and broken, and there’s a general feeling about the whole place that they do just enough maintenance to keep it from falling into ruin completely. At this point I think it’s time to show some pictures so you can see for yourself.

A selection of figures from Chinese mythology

The first temple looks dilapidated but at least it has been in use somewhat recently

The second temple is in slightly better shape, but only slightly

A collection of animals that are… not quite right

In one corner there is this…wedding cake of Buddha statues. Around it there’s a bunch of other figures from (presumably) Chinese mythology.

Just like the animals, many of the people also don’t look right

Temple number three looks to be in a better state than the first two, almost as if it was never used

Nature is starting to take over certain parts of the park

Temple number four seems to be more popular than the third one but also a bit more dilapidated

Next to the playground area we found these sad lions and a random cowboy

The fifth temple is nearly empty. There’s no other decoration than this altar.

Close to temple number five there is an area which looks the way you’d expect a statue park to look. There are proper statues made of stone, that look like real humans and animals.

After five temples that are all east Asian in nature, we get to the first christian church. It’s in a better shape than many of the temples, but also very empty.

Near the temples and churches you can find these three figures

Throughout the park you can find these figures that don’t seem connected to anything else in the park; they are neither religious/cultural figures nor part of the collection of not-quite-right animals. They put me in mind of rejected character’s from a low budget amusement park.

The last of the “temples” is another christian church. It completely lacks an altar. The only decoration it has is these two, somewhat questionable, paintings.

At the very end of the park is this half-globe domed roof pavilion. It is surrounded by a bunch of the amusement park reject statues.

Those are all the interesting parts of the statue park. I actually think my photos have done it justice, but to really get a feeling for just how strange this place is, you have to see it for yourself.