culture.tw Articles

Posted by on Apr 14, 2012 in blog, Published, Taiwan | No Comments
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Here are some articles that I have published for culture.tw

If any of the subjects interest you, click on the link to the full article.

Door Gods 門神

The highlight of writing this Door Gods article was when I serendipitously stopped at the Chendejyu Shrine (陳聚德堂; in 1693 it was the first ancestral shrine in Taiwan – built in 1664) and the caretaker ushered me inside and into a back room. There, forgotten and leaning against a wall in a dark back room of the temple were these two antique doors. I think they were painted by renowned temple painter Cai Cao Ru (蔡草如), but I need to go back and verify. The article outlines who all the different door gods are, their function and their origins.

Door Gods culture.tw Articles
Old Door Gods preserved in Chendejyu Shrine Museum, Tainan City, Taiwan

 

Taiwan Culture Portal – 10 April 2012
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Xiaolin Plains Aboriginal Night Ceremony小林平埔夜祭

My heart aches every single time I drive through what was once Xiaolin Village. During Typhoon Morakot In 2009, a catastrophic failure in the mountain above completely destroyed this historic village. In two movements, thirty million tons of mud crashed down on the village at speeds of up to 180kph. Today only one house of the once 300 households stands. That household belongs to a good friend of my wife’s family, and one of the few remaining Pingpu elders from Xiaolin. In this article I write a bit about the tragic event and what it means to the Pingpu of Xiaolin, how the somewhat arbitrary terms ‘High Mountain’ (高山) and ‘Plains’ (平埔 Pingpu) Aboriginals came about and the particulars of the Xiaolin Plains Aboriginal night ceremony.

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Xiang Zhu 向竹 Magic Bamboo Totem culture.tw Articles

Xiang Zhu 向竹 or “Magic Bamboo” — a Plains Aborigine totem. At the Siaolin Plains Aborigine Night Ceremony I was told the seven rungs of straw attached to the bamboo represent the steps to heaven. I had previously heard they represent the seven sisters worshiped as Taizu 太祖, a Plains Aboriginal Goddess.

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Taiwan Culture Portal – 10 April 2012
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Liuchongsi Pingpu Night Sacrifice六重溪部落平埔夜祭

Tainan’s tourism director invited me to this small pingpu gathering the night following the Xiaolin ceremony. This was a much more intimate event, several neighborhood families, and I write about the Siryan Pingpu Tribes in general as well as assimilation into Han culture and more specific details about the night ceremony.

Liuchongsi Pingpu Aboriginal Night Sacrifice1 culture.tw Articles
The wangyi, a medium who communicates with the Pingpu people’s god — Taizu — performing libation rites.

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Taiwan Culture Portal – 10 April 2012
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Cishan Confucius Ceremony 旗山釋奠典禮(祭孔大典)

I write about Kaohsiung’s Confucius Day Ceremony. Tainan’s ceremony is much more traditional while Kaohsiung’s is grander.

Cishan Confucius Ceremony culture.tw Articles
The rites are a tribute to Confucius and meant to instill the venerable values of ‘ren’, ‘li’ and ‘yi’ propagated by the sage. That is: humanism, propriety and righteousness — but what’s the most important in Taiwan on this day is the cultivation of respect for teachers and education.
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Taiwan Culture Portal – 10 April 2012
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Caoshan Moonworld 草山月世界

A must see in Tainan.

Caoshan Moonworld Tainan culture.tw Articles
Photographers gather to photograph a Moonworld sunrise, Erliao, Caoshan, Taiwan
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Taiwan Culture Portal – 10 April 2012
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Ten Drum International Festival 臺南國際鼓樂節

An annual event held for the first time concurrently in Ten Drum’s new Kaohsiung base and Tainan sugar refinery base. Ten Drum Percussion troupe rocks, but the Japanese Wild Samurai Taiko Percussion Groups (野武士太鼓團) performance blew me away. A great festival to attend over Chinese New Year.

Wild Samurai Taiko culture.tw Articles
Japanese Wild Samurai Taiko Percussion Group, 野武士太鼓團, 2011 Ten Drum International Festival, Ten Drum Culture Village Taiwan
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Taiwan Culture Portal – 10 April 2012
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Santaizi – Evolving from Traditional God to Culture Icon 哪吒三太子(中壇元帥)

My favorite Taiwanese god. I wrote about some of his origin legends, his place in the Chinese god pantheon, and a bit about his evolution.

Nezha Santaitz culture.tw Articles
Parade effigy (great god general) of SanTaiTz from Xinying comes to Taitian Temple of Nankunshen
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Kaohsiung International Lion Dance Festival 高雄市戲獅甲藝術節活動

I had intended to sit in the stands of Kaohsiung’s K-Arena and enjoy the Lion Dance Festival but it was a sold out show so, worried I would not be able to deliver the promised article, I wangled myself into this event as media (usually the editor will arrange entrance beforehand) and was free to roam. This picture was taken the previous day at the preliminaries for national teams. The lighting was much easier than in the arena.

Lion Dance culture.tw Articles
Kaohsiung’s Wansheng Lion Dance Team during preliminary competition, Kaohsiung Lion Dance Festival 2010, GuangJi Temple, Taiwan
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Taiwan Culture Portal – 10 April 2012
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Nanying International Folklore Festival 南瀛國際民俗藝術節

A great show with folk culture performances by eleven international and several Taiwanese troupes performed at venues around Tainan.
NYIFF culture.tw Articles
Belgium’s Les Alfers Namurois Flag Bearing Folklore Troupe performing at Nan Ying International Folklore Festival, Taiwan
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Taiwan Culture Portal – 10 April 2012

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