Sun, Jul 24, 2016 - Page 9 News List

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Describing photos

A woman prepares incense sticks in Chiayi County.

Photos: Paul Cooper, Taipei Times

On the left, a woman prepares incense sticks, binding them together with elastic bands. On the right, a Taoist priest performs a ceremony, painting in the pupils of the eyes of a god statue, cupping the leg of a statue with his hand. Both are taking part in a temple festival in the important Matsu temple of Chaotian Gong in Chiayi County, and both are absorbed in their duties, despite the distractions of the bustling crowds around them.

The woman remained absolutely intent on what she was doing, although I did get the impression she knew full well that I was hovering around her, taking photos. The priest, for his part, is an old hand at concentrating on the rituals he is performing, unfazed by the audience that has gathered around him.

They both have their implements laid out before them. The woman has a cluster of incense sticks spread out before her on the table, and a bag of elastic bands with which to bind them. To her side, she has placed all of the bunches of sticks that are ready for use.

The priest has a collection of the implements he needs to carry out the ceremony: He has two bells with vajra handles, an incense burner, a glass of holy water for sprinkling, and a brush for painting in the gods’ pupils.

I was quite impressed with how they continued their allotted tasks, despite the distractions around them. I also loved the reds and golds of the temple architecture and the altar table and god statues.

Find a photo or photos, describe it or them.

Write about what you see, who is in the picture and what they are doing. Include some specific details and your feelings about the photo or photos. (Paul Cooper, Taipei Times)







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