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Land Bank of Taiwan Headquarters

The present Land Bank of Taiwan Headquarters at No. 25, Xiangyang Road, Taipei City, was the former Taipei Branch of Nippon Kangyo Bank.

Although most buildings built in the Japanese colonial period were inspired by the Western Renaissance and rather ingenious, this headquarters building has absorbed the characteristics of ancient Egyptian and ancient Mayan arts to present a unique style.

In 1896 (Meiji 29th Year), the Japanese government established the “Japanese Industrial Banking Act” to facilitate agricultural and industrial development and assist in offering relevant financing services. In the beginning, Nippon Kangyo Bank did not set up its location in Taiwan but commissioned the Bank of Taiwan Corporation to offer relevant services. As the Japanese government strengthened Taiwan’s economic development, funds demanded for land development, forestation, and irrigation development increased. In 1922 (Taisho 11th Year), Nippon Kangyo Bank officially set up a branch in Taipei. In 1928 (Showa 3rd Year), it opened another branch in Tainan. At that time, Nippon Kangyo Bank mainly offered real estate financing and long-term funding for irrigation groups (irrigation associations), bringing far-reaching effects to Taiwan’s irrigation development.

After Taiwan’s restoration, the government took over Nippon Kangyo Bank. To implement land policies such as the equality of land rights and land reform (land to the tiller) to aid farmers, the Ministry of Finance appropriated capital of Taiwan Dollar 60 million on September 1, 1946, to form the Land Bank of Taiwan with five Taiwan branches of Nippon Kangyo Bank in Taipei, Hsinchu, Taichung, Tainan, and Kaohsiung. The Land Bank of Taiwan was the government-designated exclusive professional bank to engage in real property and agriculture loan services to help implement public housing, agriculture, and land reform policies.

The Land Bank of Taiwan headquarters was completed in 1933 (Showa 8th Year). It is characterized by the eight gigantic columns in the front with its capitals decorated with animal sculptures, bringing about a sense of mystery. On the parapets, there are decorations resembling the geometric patterns found in the Mayan culture. The building is also decorated with a mixture of human faces and lion heads, drawing public attention to the building.

The veranda at the corner is supported by a cylindrical wall to bring a sense of visual stability. Walking through the towering colonnade, the pendant decorations on the roof are characterized by elaborate carvings. The eight gigantic columns are typical Doric order. The shaft is thick and base-less with a groove, slightly narrowing upwards.

As it is a historical building, surface stone peeling occurred to this structure that has witnessed and played a crucial role in Taiwan’s agricultural and economic development, turning it into a dangerous building facing possible demolition and reconstruction. Through the efforts and urgings of scholars and cultural activists, the building has eventually been listed as a Grade III historic building and transferred to the National Taiwan Museum. After being renovated, it has become an exhibition venue linking to the National Taiwan Museum with a tunnel, forming a new cultural sight.