Tianhou Temple (Anping)

The Tianhou Temple,[1] also known as the Kaitai Tianhou[2] or Mazu Temple,[3] is a temple to the Chinese Goddess Mazu, who is the Goddess of Sea and Patron Deity of fishermen, sailors and any occupations related to the sea. The temple is located in the Anping District of Tainan on Taiwan.

Tianhou Temple
Entrance
Traditional Chinese天后宮
Simplified Chinese天后宫
Literal meaningHeavenly Empress Palace
Kaitai Tianhou Temple
Traditional Chinese開臺天后
Simplified Chinese开台天后

It is open to the public from 4:30 am to 10 pm 7 days a week.[1]

History

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The temple was erected at the Anping Ferry in 1668, on the site that is now occupied by Anping District's Shih-Men Primary School.[4] Erected soon after Koxinga's successful invasion of Dutch Taiwan in the name of the Southern Ming resistance to the Qing Empire,[1] it is thought to be the oldest extant Mazu temple on Taiwan Island.[1] It housed statues of the Deities brought by Koxinga from Meizhou off the Fujian coast, the site of Mazuism's chief temple.[3] The chief idol of Mazu is soft-bodied, with jointed feet, hands, and fingers and bound feet.[3] It holds a fan in its right hand and a handkerchief in its left.[3] It has tablets from the Guangxu Emperor of the Qing (c. 1880) and from presidents Li Denghui and Chen Shuibian of the Republic of China.[3] It was demolished by the Japanese[5] and has been rebuilt several times, most recently in 1976[5] and 1994.[2]

Legends

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The primary statue is said to be more than a thousand years old.[5] It is sometimes said to have been one of three personally brought to Taiwan by Koxinga,[2] although the temple itself claims that a "Cheng Cheng-kung" brought it to Taiwan years earlier in 1661.[4] Mazu is credited with various miracles around the temple, including appearing to lead Anping's initial settlers,[4] protecting it from bombing during World War II, producing miraculous sweat, and protecting her statue during the temple's 1990 fire disaster.[3]

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References

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  1. ^ a b c d "Anping Tianhou Taoist Temple", Official site, Tainan: Tourism Bureau of the Tainan City Government, 2016.
  2. ^ a b c Keeling, Stephen (2013), "Anping Fort and Around", The Rough Guide to Taiwan, Rough Guides, ISBN 9781409350613.
  3. ^ a b c d e f "Kaitai Mazu Temple", Official site, Tainan: Anping District Office, 2009.
  4. ^ a b c "History", Official site, Tainan: Tainan Anping Kaitai Tianhou Gong, 2009.
  5. ^ a b c Crook, Steven (2014), "Kaitai Tianhou Temple", Taiwan, 2nd ed., Chalfont St Peter: Bradt Travel Guides, ISBN 9781841624976.
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23°00′02″N 120°09′39″E / 23.0006°N 120.1607°E / 23.0006; 120.1607