Wed, Jul 15, 2015 - Page 5 News List

Tainan temple’s artwork features local celebrities

By Yang Ching-wu and Chen Wei-han  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

The likeness of Wang King-ho, a doctor popularly known as the “Father of Blackfoot Disease,” is depicted on a mural in a passageway at Nankunshen Daitian Temple in Tainan on Saturday.

Photo: Yang Chin-cheng, Taipei Times

In a departure from traditional religious themes, new murals at Tainan’s Nankunshen Daitian Temple (南鯤鯓代天府) feature departed and contemporary Taiwanese celebrities to commemorate their contributions to society.

While most temple murals are inspired by mythological or historical figures, Nankunshen Daitian — built in 1817 and widely hailed as the founding temple for Wang Ye worship in Taiwan — took a different tack, using images of Taiwanese celebrities and landscapes, temple board director Hou Hsien-hsun (侯賢遜) said on Sunday.

A collection of freshly painted murals line a hallway from the main worship hall to an auxiliary shrine, featuring individuals that include Lin Chieh-liang (林杰樑), who gained a reputation as a guardian of public health after giving valuable food safety advice amid a number of food scares in recent years, and the late Wang King-ho (王金河), a doctor popularly known as the “Father of Blackfoot Disease” for his work combating the disease.

Others depicted in the murals include 1968 Mexico City Olympics women’s 80m hurdles bronze medalist Chi Cheng (紀政), Nobel laureate Lee Yuan-tseh (李遠哲) and renowned painter and 228 Massacre victim Chen Cheng-po (陳澄波).

Hou said the murals, part of a recent renovation project, are the latest additions to a collection started two years ago that adorns the walls and pillars of the main worship hall with portraits of athletes such as NBA player Jeremy Lin (林書豪), former world No. 1 golfer Yani Tseng (曾雅妮) and major league pitchers Chen Wei-yin (陳偉殷) and Wang Chien-ming (王建民), as well as philanthropist Chen Shu-chu (陳樹菊) and the late painter Hung Tung (洪通).

Taiwanese landscapes are another prominent motif of the murals, including an ancient salt field and a newly constructed crystal church in Tainan’s Beimen District (北門), Hou added.

Visitor Yang Jui-che (楊睿哲) said that looking at the temple’s murals was like reading a Taiwanese history book, adding that photographs of the murals had gone viral among the nation’s netizens.

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