Posted by: sea2stars | July 14, 2010

Temple pottery

We went to a Bantaoyao, just a short scooter ride outside of Chiayi to look at traditional Taiwan pottery. The place we went to is famous around the world for making temple decorations, specifically one called Koji pottery. Koji pottery is a soft ceramic sintered at low temperatures. Their is a second type of temple decorations where they use broken pieces of porcelain bowls and put it together to make animals and flowers while the koji potter is usually for warriors or Gods. Their was a great museum that had examples and explained what all the potteries were and how they were made. Most of it was in Chinese but my friend, Doug, had done his homework and was able to tell us a lot about the different types of pottery.

This place was also pretty cool because you could make your very own temple decoration. Renee and I painted Gods. She chose Matsu, the God of the Sea. I chose Tu Di Gong 土地公, the Earth God. Doug decided to make a tile and he put his Chinese last name on it.

The town we were in had many decorations from this pottery place. There were tile cows and decorated walls. We went to a famous wall of flowers and plants made from the broken bowls. It was very impressive and fun to take some very Taiwanese posed pictures. My friend Renee has become a master at the Taiwanese style posed photographs.

We then went to a very famous Matsu temple. It was rather appropriate after seeing how temple decorations were made. I’ve been told that the decorations on temples are usually designed to tell an important story about a God. It’s always interesting to go to temples and see the way in which people pray. It’s very different from anything I’ve ever seen before. It seems to involve massive amounts of incense, bowing, and fake money. I haven’t written much about the temples in Taiwan, mostly cause I don’t understand them very well. They had an english description at the Matsu temple about how to pray properly, this is what it said…

“Light three incense sticks. Bow with the sticks three times in front of the Statue of Matsu in the main hall an say the prayer. Your follower … (your name) I was born in …(your date of birth) I am … (your gender) I live in … (your address) Today I earnestly pray your answer for my problem … (tell Matsu why and what do you want to request for advice) Please give me an answer and let me come back for your indication after a while. (Now visit the other halls in order of the directions)
After finishing all the praying return to the main hall. Then tell Matsu why you are here again and ask if you are ready to get the answer by casting the semi-lunar diving blocks. If the answer is “Yes” you will see that the pair is landed showing different sides: If not, please what until Matsu gets ready to give you answer. When allowing to get the answer, draw a lot from the lots container and put it on the alter and cast the semi-lunar diving blocks. If the pair maintains different sides three times continuously it means that it is the right lot for you; otherwise return it and repeat the step again.
According to the number on the pot, find a hole which divine message is inscribed. The information counter or the priest will help you to explain it.”


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