April 3, 2009 / 8:24 AM / 10 years ago

Gigantic Gulliver washes up in Taiwan

TAICHUNG, Taiwan (Reuters Life!) - Lemuel Gulliver, the 18th century literary character who was treated as a giant and then a tiny doll on sailing misadventures, has washed up in Taiwan this week and locals are walking through his body.

People visit a giant replica of Lemuel Gulliver built in a park in central Taiwan's city of Taichung April 3, 2009. REUTERS/Ralph Jennings

Much like the fictional Lilliputians who were a fraction of Gulliver’s size, thousands of people poked through the 60-meter-long (196 ft-long) plastic and canvas body that lies pinned down on its back, baring its organs.

Taiwan’s Paperwindmill Cultural and Education Foundation, a non-profit children’s theater group, made the T$10 million ($30,000) structure and tied it down in a park in central Taichung city to help students learn about anatomy and become part of Jonathan Swift’s classic tale.

A hole in the foot lets visitors walk alongside bones the size of telegraph poles, a maze-like large intestine and lungs that blow wind from a hidden generator.

A stairwell in the head leads to teeth the size of pillows and nostrils as big as soccer balls.

“Taiwan lacks this kind of dramatic means of learning,” said Jen Chien-cheng, a Paperwindmill troupe leader. “But Taiwanese have a lot of interest in this kind of cultural activity and a need for it.”

Gulliver is the protagonist in Swift’s four-part novel Gulliver’s Travels. The satirical book follows the surgeon-turned-ship captain on a trip to several fictional countries that provide insights into human nature.

The Taichung Gulliver is meant to replicate the journey to Lilliput, where the shipwrecked traveler is held prisoner by miniature people who consider him a giant.

About 4,000 people toured the body on Thursday and queues of impatient children snaked around the park on Friday as teachers brought classes from across the island to the structure, which for now offers free admission.

“With such a large human body replica, children can see more than just pictures,” said grade school teacher Peng Chi-chen, who brought 180 students from a private school.

“One student didn’t want to come because he thought the body was too big,” Peng said. “We told him it was tied up.”

Editing by Miral Fahmy

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