Yuling and I just got back from visiting Taichung, the third largest city in Taiwan, and Nantou County, a centrally-located region southeast of the city. While I did get some photos, it’ll take a while to get them post-processed, so I’ll be covering some stuff that hasn’t yet migrated from Flickr. As always, check the Flickr site to see these in a larger format and see some photos that either haven’t made it here or I haven’t had a chance to post.
This set of photos was taken at some temples in Hsinchu. I hadn’t realized Hsinchu’s age until visiting these temples – the first of which was completed (if I remember correctly) in the 1730’s.
The two above photos – the first with an altar (not the temple’s main altar, actually) and the second with these light, are in the same temple. The bottom photo is a little bit blurry, but if you were to see this in detail, you’d see what looks like a seated buddha* or god next to three Chinese characters. The characters are a person’s name – the idea is that if they donate to the temple, they get one of these buddhas… much like a plaque. The closer the name to the temple god, the more money they’ve paid. If their names are engraved somewhere on the temple, they’re probably a main cornerstone of the community.
The last photo shows a market in front of Cheng Huang Temple (城隍廟). It’s been interesting to see how some temples turn into almost social events – there was a night market nearby which has kind of turned into a sort of round-the-clock market. I could’ve ordered one of those oyster omelets at noon instead of midnight!
*In Buddhism especially, there’s a big difference between “Buddha” and a “little-b buddha.” The “Buddha” usually relates to Siddhartha Gautama, the Indian prince – who is seen as the figure who started what we call Buddhism today. The “little-b buddha” could be one of a lot of bodhisattvas, or “enlightened beings” – much like saints in Christianity. I’m not going any further with this… it gets super confusing and the Chinese system mulitiplies this confusion by 100 since they incorporate local gods into the mix.