Description/Chen Cheng-po made two paintings of the Tropic of Cancer landmark, once in 1921 before going to Japan to study and once in 1924 when he returned during summer break in 1924. The former was in watercolor and the latter in oil. The disparate appearances of the landmark in the two works attest to its history of repeated reconstruction. The Tropic of Cancer lies at 23.5° north of the equator and divides the tropical and subtropical climate zones. In 1908, the Japanese colonial government erected the first Tropic of Cancer memorial in Shuishang Township, Chiayi to celebrate the full opening of Taiwan's North-south Railway and symbolize its territorial expansion into the tropics. When Prince Hirohito visited Taiwan in 1923, he ordered a reconstruction using concrete and stone. The new landmark gained a more solid-looking podium, which supported a Japanese-inspired classical-style structure capped by a two-tiered cornice and adorned with a stone orb. That third-generation landmark is the version captured in this painting. By electing a nearly full frontal angle and merely suggesting spatial distance with the varying height of trees and no other staffage or changes in depth of field, the artist deliberately concentrates the viewer's attention on the central landmark. He made this second rendition of the Tropic of Cancer landmark during his first summer break from studies at the Tokyo School of Fine Arts, so it represents the latest techniques he has learned since delving into the new medium of oil painting.
- Yuchun Lin, Oil‧Passion‧Chen Cheng-Po (Taipei City: Lion Art Publishing, 1998), 23.
- Yuchun Lin, "The Real Scenes and Images Utopia in Chen Cheng-Po's Journey of Life," in Journey through Jiangnan: A Pivotal Moment in Chen Cheng-Po's Artistic Quest, ed. Yuchun Lin et al. (Taipei City: Taipei Fine Arts Museum, 2012), 10.