Rixing Type Foundry – Datong District, Taiwan - Atlas Obscura
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Datong District, Taiwan

Rixing Type Foundry

Taiwan's last Chinese character letterpress preserves the dying art of Chinese character mold making. 

Ever thought about how newspapers printed in Chinese were produced in the pre-digital era? Every word, every character needed to be on stock for printing. And here, in the middle of Taipei, these characters are still produced with molten lead.

Rixing Type Foundry is the last Chinese character type manufacturer in Taiwan. This rare typographic gem manufactures and sells traditional Chinese movable type character, and may well be the last Chinese type foundry in the world.

The foundry boasts about 120,000 different molds. The molds will produce three distinct typefaces in multiple fonts. Rows of wooden shelves fill the space, each stacked with different fonts. In the back, you’ll see a room full of different molding and casting machines used to create the type.

Chang Chien-Kuan, the owner, is the driving force behind the foundry’s success. His work is tedious and time-consuming, but he spends each day repairing the old molds. Chien-Kuan is a master practitioner of Chinese letterpress printing but sadly has not found anyone to pass his knowledge down to. His dedication and skills are what keeps the foundry—and the practice as a whole—from fading into the past.

Know Before You Go

It's not far from Taipei Main Station. There's a nice vintage stationery shop also worth checking out just opposite.

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