November 11, 2011

Feng Tian Temple, Xingang

I have always heard from people that, “when visiting Asia, you see temple after another temple, and you see church after another church when you visit Europe”. This is not a negative statement of course, but it shows how essential the religions play the roles in every culture.

Come to Taiwan, the Feng Tian Temple (奉天宮) is one of the temples that you don’t want to miss. Located in Chiayi, southern Taiwan, the Feng Tian Temple provides not only the historical and religious culture information, but also a museum where you can enjoy the gorgeous architecture and famous Xingang JiaoZhi Pottery art.

The Feng Tian Temple is famous for the “Plug the First Incense Stick” activity on the 1st day of the Lunar New Year, and the annual 8-day 7-night Matsu Pilgrimage procession held on 3/23 of the Lunar calendar for Matsu’s birthday. Thousands and thousands believers walk from Chenlan Temple to Feng Tian Temple during the Matsu Pilgrimage process. This exciting activity has always brought world media attention on Taiwan. All this unique background makes the Feng Tian Temple one of the most important historical sites in Taiwan.

The temple contains three halls and four entrances. Three stone lions are located at the front entrance. These lions also have interesting background stories. As you can see, the bottom of the lion sculpture connects to the door pillar, which may make you think that the lion couldn’t be stolen. However, the fact is that this lion was actually carved from the same piece of door pillar stone. The purpose of the door guard lions is to expel evils and strengthen the structure of the building foundation.

Feng Tian Temple is mainly dedicated to Matsu and other important deities, such as Cheng Huang Deity, Jade Emperor, Literal, Martial Judge, and Chi and Ba Yeh…. Etc.

The Jade Emperor is located on the top floor of the temple with all the small golden deities.

In the main hall, two interesting characters are riding the dragons and hiding among all the colorful pillars on the ceiling. The bald head with booth on is on the left; the long hair with no booth on is on the right. It’s hard to discover them. They would require patience and detailed observation.

The Feng Tian Temple is located in the Xingang Township. Xingang is famous for producing the most beautiful JiaoZhi Pottery art in Taiwan. Going up to the third floor of the temple, you would see a magnificent temple roof and colorful JiaoZhi pottery decoration. Each decoration is associated with a folk story. There are too many stories to discover and too many gorgeous arts to enjoy. Does it feel like in an art museum too?

An elderly woman was selling the joss stick outside the temple. This short encounter left me an impressive memory...

A short and skinny elderly woman came to us and asked me to buy the joss sticks from her. I told her that we just finished the visit and we do not need the joss sticks. However, my heart told me that I needed to help her, so I gave her the money and told her to keep it without giving us the joss sticks. I was surprised that she returned me the money right away, and refused to accept my money without giving me the joss sticks. She did not say anything, but from her body language showing she appreciated what I did.

Along with this small event, many other local people I encountered show me street vendors in Taiwan wouldn’t push you to buy things you don’t want. What a great travel experience in Taiwan! Read More


Anonymous said...

Wow, nice set of photos!

micki and kristen said...

Thanks, Rich ;)

Unknown said...


Jorge Miyashiro said...

Wow! Happy your back! : )

Rafael Lam said...

Very interesting Feng Tian Temple (奉天宮),
so many colorful chinese sculptures,
can take many photos if I can visit there!

Re: Hi Micki! Nice to here you again, I'm very appreciate the Taiwan's public art,
of course can know more in your website!

I like Taiwanese food, very delicious and familiar!
I also enjoy much the shopping and night market!

micki and kristen said...

Hi San, 奉天宮真的很華麗,太多太多的小細節可以去發掘吔~

Hi, Jorge, I am glad that WT is back! :) :) Thank you so much in supporting us always, and see ya soon ;)

Hi Rafael, Through your fisheye lens, Feng Tian Temple will be magnificent~ So good to know that you had a great trip in Taiwan, and brought home with wonderful memories~

Anonymous said...

I must admit I have a fondness for temples. For, they are still exotic to me (even though I must have visited hundreds by now!), second they are usually open to the public, and finally, they are an experience for all the senses - the smell of incense, the bright colours etc.

micki and kristen said...

Thanks! Zhu. I am fascinated with the colors, art, and the atmosphere of the temple. The annual 8-day 7-night Matsu Pilgrimage procession can be an exciting activity to attend and to share~

Chinese Temples said...

I think this is one of the most colorful temples I've ever seen! It does bear many similarities to the temples I've seen in China, but they are usually much more sombre. These are like bursts of life!

micki and kristen said...

thanks! Indeed Feng Tian Temple has been maintained very well with vivid and eye-catching exterior and interior~

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