Sat, Nov 09, 2019 - Page 14 News List

Kinmen Architecture

Close-up of the entrance to a converted B&B in Jincheng Township, Kinmen County on Oct. 31.

Photo: Paul Cooper, Taipei Times

One could write volumes about the different architectural styles on Kinmen, one of Taiwan’s outlying islands. Here, I must confine myself to a few passing observations, gleaned from a first, and very short, trip.

Dotted around the island are communities of ornate buildings dating to the late Qing or early Republican period, formerly the residences of wealthy merchants, faithfully renovated and converted into tourist accommodation. In other areas, there are less ornate buildings in the Fujianese style, with simple lines and brickwork. In the towns, among the traditional buildings and old temples, there are more dilapidated buildings and storefronts with their own unique charm.

Unlike temples in Taiwan proper, the gates of many temples feature two pairs of stone guardian lions, one pair on either side of the gate, with another pair facing in the opposite direction on the other side of the pillar. On one of these, we saw one lion painted in bright blue, with a golden mane and red headgear. These are the colors of the traditional architectural features known as fengshiye, or “wind lion gods,” which were meant to provide protection against the wind and to dispel evil. I have no idea whether this painted lion was meant to be a fengshiye.

(Paul Cooper, Taipei Times)





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