都市記憶

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1995 / 4月

文‧張靜茹



動人的城市,是有記憶的。

民初《梁思成傳記》作者,說她由鄉下上北京時,父親交代她要由北京城正門「正陽門」走進北京城,如此才能體驗到北京皇城的紀念性軸線,所有皇帝權威都在這軸線上向你展現,「北京讓你印象最深刻的是這一條軸線」,父親交代她:「你一定要從頭走到尾,你就是北京人了。」

台大城鄉所教授夏鑄九解釋說,走過北京最動人的軸線,就像是作為入族北京的「入族式」(成為北京人的一種儀式),就像到巴黎一定要爬上巴黎鐵塔俯瞰。「至於台北人的入族式是什麼,我還不太清楚,會是跑到啤酒屋喝得爛醉,或在台北的車陣中塞個三、四小時,就是入族式?我們或許也可以想想看!」

城市記憶

學者一番話,絕非歌頌經過規劃的帝王之都,因為城市如何形成不是最重要的,都市是「成長」出來的,讓人記憶深刻的城市,常常不是一個人或一個時代所完成的。

北京是五百多年來逐漸成長的都市,城內彎曲的河流與五座大理石橋,是十七世紀才增列其上的。

「北京有五顏六色、舊的與新的色彩。它有皇朝的色彩,古代歷史的色彩,有蒙古的色彩,駝商自張家口與南口來到北京,走近古代的城門,在那裡農村的幽靜與城市舒適媲美,那裡的街道排列恰當,清晨在花園中拔白菜的時候,抬頭可以看到西山的雄姿,然而距離一家大百貨商店,只有一箭之地。」幽默大師林語堂喜歡北京,還有一個原因是「不論在什麼地方,附近總會有一個雜貨店與茶館。」

在新式汽車與驢車媲美的時代,林語堂形容北京「是一個理想的城市,每個人都有呼吸之地。」

景觀規劃師郭中端常告訴學生,她在台北看不到時間的感覺,人們急著粗暴地毀掉許多東西。今天有人說「日本的都市計畫有意毀壞中國文化,因此日據時代的建築不需保存」,其實都是奠基於我們的城市不喜歡歷史,不喜歡記憶。一個城市只有保留不同時代的記憶,才能完整說明它的歷史。

中原大學建築系副教授喻肇青曾說,一個城市的形成不是偶然的,也不是一張完美的藍圖可以完成的。許多城市動人,都是經過它個別的歷史過程生成的。

城市之聲

胡耐安說他小時曾坐蹄聲達達的馬車,由鳳儀門進南京城,這個古稱建業、健康和石頭城的「六朝金粉」王都,讓人充滿許多想像。豐富的「都市記憶」讓城市動人,動人的城市也有動人的聲音與味道。

《都城紀勝》形容自古是手工業、商業中心,人口一直超過百萬的杭州城內,「弦誦之聲,往往相聞。」因為每一里巷至少有鄉校、家塾、舍館、書會一、二所的杭城,不時發出它的文化之聲。

蘇州的「深巷林朝漫杏花」,讓人聞之意猶未盡。就像巴黎街道會傳出麵包作坊的烤麵包香味。二十年前,走過台北迪化街會有茶香,閉著眼睛都知道是經過茶行。可惜今天的城市卻到處是轟隆隆的汽車噪音,只聞得到廢氣臭味,台北甚至被形容需要穿盔甲、帶防毒面具了。

多少樓台煙雨中

唐朝詩人杜牧形容南京「南朝四百八十寺,多少樓台煙雨中」。傳教士利瑪竇在明朝萬曆廿三年到達南京,認為它是全世界最美、最偉大的城市。已故的知名文化地理學者陳正祥描述三○年代的南京:三月底,長江下游的南京桃李始花;四月,南京柳絮始飛。他的城市記憶是活生生的。

同時,在北京則是三月北海解凍,土壤表層日融夜凍,野草開始發青,榆樹開始萌芽,接著山桃、柳樹芽膨大,蜜蜂出現,雁向北飛……。進入四月,毛桃、海棠、桑樹、胡桃次第始花;接近五月,牡丹始花,柳絮飛揚。北平的農曆五月,則是火紅的五月,人家院子裡的石榴花、夾竹桃開得火紅。

《燕京歲時記》裡也記載:京師五月榴花正開,鮮明照眼,凡居人等往往將夾竹桃列中庭,以為清玩。榴、竹之間,必以魚缸配之,朱魚數頭游泳其中,幾乎家家如此。

難怪在北京住了十五年的蔣夢麟先生,也說他回想過去,「甚至連北京飛揚的塵土都富於愉快的聯想。」夏鑄九說,這絕對不只是鄉愁,「我們可以知道好的城市是有許多品質的。」

現代人經營的城市,又會留下什麼樣的城市記憶呢?

〔圖片說明〕

P.26

「城市記憶」是一群人可以共同回憶、感知的事與物。許多台北人對台北市第一座公園新公園充滿回憶,新公園也成為「二二八」紀念碑的設置地點。(本刊資料)

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EN

City Memories

Chang Chin-ju /tr. by Robert Taylor


Memorable cities touch the soul.

The author of A Biography of Liang Sichen, published in the early years of the Republic, said that when she first went to Beijing from her home in the countryside, her father instructed her that she should enter the imperial city through its main gate-- Zhengyangmen--for only then would she be able to appreciate the memorable south-to-north axis around which it is laid out. The whole imperial grandeur of the city is spread out before one along that axis. Her father told her: "That axis is what will impress you most about Beijing. You must walk the whole of its length, and then you can call yourself a citizen of Beijing."

Hsia Chu-joe, a professor at Taiwan University's Graduate Institute of Building and Planning, explains that walking Beijing's most evocative axis is like an initiation ceremony by which one becomes a naturalized Beijinger, just as when one goes to Paris it is de rigueur to ascend the Eiffel Tower for a bird's-eye view of the city. "As for what the initiation ceremony is for Taipei," Professor Hsia muses, "I'm not too sure. Maybe if you go to a beer house and get blind drunk, or get stuck in a Taipei traffic jam for three or four hours, then you're initiated. Perhaps that's something for us to think about!"

City memories

This scholarly opinion is in no way intended to eulogize planned imperial cities, for how a city takes shape is not what matters--cities "grow," and the cities which engrave themselves on our memories are not usually those constructed by one person or at one time.

Beijing is a city which has gradually grown over more than five centuries, and its twisting water-courses and five marble bridges were not added until the 17th century.

"Beijing has a multitude of colors and characters, with the old and the new intermingled. It has the flavor of imperial dynasties, the flavor of ancient history, and a Mongolian flavor. Merchants come with their camels to Beijing from Zhangjiakou and Nankou, entering through the ancient city gate. There the serenity of the countryside combines with the comforts of the city, and the streets are laid out just right so that when pulling cabbages in one's garden at dawn one can look up and see the majesty of the Western Hills, even though one is but a stone's throw from a large department store." The great humorist Lin Yutang loved Beijing for another reason too: "No matter where you go, you're never far from a general store or a tea-house."

In an age when the new-fangled motor car was vying for favor with the donkey-cart, Lin Yutang described Beijing as "an ideal city, where everyone has space to breathe."

Landscape designer Kuo Chung-tuan often tells her students that in Taipei she sees no sense of time. People have hurried to roughly destroy many things. Today some say that "the Japanese town planners deliberately destroyed Chinese culture, so we don't need to preserve buildings from the Japanese occupation era." But in fact this all stems from the fact that we don't like to have history or memories in our city. Only a city which retains memories from different ages can tell its story in full.

Chao-ching Yu, associate professor in the Department of Architecture at Chung Yuan University, has said that a city does not take shape by accident, nor can it be created from any perfect blueprint. The power many cities have to move us comes from their own individual history.

The voices ot the city

Hu Nai-an said that as a child he once rode in a horse-cart to the clatter of hooves through Fengyi Gate, into the old city of Nanjing. This ancient imperial city, which in former times variously bore the names of Jianye, Jiankang and Shitou Cheng, and which is tinged with the golden dust of six dynasties, fills one with many imaginings. Rich "city memories" give a city the power to move us, and places with that power also have evocative sounds and smells.

Sights of the Ancient Capital describes how in the city of Hangzhou, which since time immemorial has been a center of crafts and commerce with a population of over a million, "the sounds of bow on string and of recitations often assailed the ear." Hangzhou was a city with at least one or two schools large or small in every street and alley, so the sound of culture could be heard wherever one went.

In Suzhou, "The fragrance of apricot blossoms wafts from the grove deep in the alley," filling one with yearning, just like the smell of fresh-baked bread which draws one to bakeries on Paris streets. Twenty years ago, walking along Taipei's Tihua Street one could savor the fragrance of tea, and even with one's eyes closed one would know one was passing a tea merchant's shop. But sadly, today the city is full of the roar of traffic and all one can smell is the stench of exhaust fumes. Taipei has even been described as a place where one needs to wear a helmet and gas mask.

How many halls in the mist and rain?

The Tang dynasty poet Tu Mu (803-c.852) describes Nanjing with the words "Myriad Southern Dynasty temples-how many halls in the mist and rain?" When the Jesuit missionary Matteo Ricci came to Nanjing in 1595, the 23rd year of the Ming dynasty Wan Li emperor's reign, he judged it the greatest and most beautiful city in all the world. The late Chen Cheng-hsiang, a well-known scholar of culture and geography, described the Nanjing of the 1940s thus: "In late March at Nanjing by the lower Yangtze, the peach and plum trees blossom, and in April the catkins begin to fly." His memories of the city are vivid ones.

Meanwhile "in Beijing in March, the ice on Beihai Lake is melting; the soil thaws by day and freezes by night. Plants sprout, and the elms break their buds. Then the buds of the mountain peaches and willows swell, bees appear, and the wild geese fly north. . . . With the coming of April, the wild peaches, crab-apples, mulberries and walnuts blossom by turns; then in May the peonies come into flower, and catkins dance on the breeze. The fifth lunar month in Beijing is like flame: the pomegranates and oleanders in the courtyards flower a fiery red."

The Qing dynasty Seasons in Beijing also records how in the fifth lunar month in that city, "the pomegranates bloom bright and the locals all take pleasure in growing oleanders in their courtyards. Among the pomegranates and oleanders they are sure to place vats in which scarlet goldfish swim. Almost every family follows this practice."

No wonder Chiang Meng-lin, who lived in Beijing for 15 years, said that when he thought of the past, "even the dust which blows through Beijing is rich with happy associations." Hsia Chu-joe says this is certainly not merely homesickness: "From this we can see that a good town has many qualities."

What kind of memories, then, will today's cities leave behind?

[Picture Caption]

p.27

"City memories" are events and things that constitute the collective consciousness of a metropolis' residents. Many Taipei people have strong memories of New Park, the city's first park. The park is now the site of the memorial to the February 28 incident. (Sinorama file photo)

 

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