Tue, Nov 14, 2017 - Page 4 News List

Reward offered for incense burner

By Tsai Tsung-hsun and William Hetherington  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

An incense burner that has been missing from Peitian Temple in Chiayi County is pictured in an undated photograph

Photo courtesy of Huang Wen-feng

A NT$1 million (US$33,124) reward has been offered for an incense burner believed to be about 150 years old that disappeared from Peitian Temple (配天宮) in Puzih City (朴子), Chiayi County, five years ago.

Huang Wen-feng (黃文峰), a former member of the Taiwan Province consultative council, made the offer on Monday last week.

The nearly 300-year-old temple, which is dedicated to Matsu, goddess of the sea, has been undergoing renovations since 2008, including fortification of pillars and repairing the roof to stop leaks, temple committee chairperson Ting Kuang-ying (丁廣穎) said.

The censer, which was given historical monument status by the Chiayi County Government, was moved from an altar to the temple’s office as a temporary measure.

It was discovered missing when a team led by Tseng Yung-kuan (曾永寬), a professor from National Yunlin University of Science and Technology’s Department of Cultural Heritage Conservation, began inventorying the temple’s contents, Ting said.

Puzih Mayor Wang Ju-ching (王如經), the former temple director, said the censer appears to have gone missing on Feb. 17, 2012.

The temple had hoped the thief would return the burner, but after three days had passed, a police report was filed, Wang said.

Puzih Precinct Chief Chang Kuei-lin (張桂霖) said that although it is an old case, the police would do their best to find the burner.

Huang wrote on Facebook that he initially thought the year 58 — out of the traditional Buddhist 60-year cycle (辛酉年) — inscribed on the censer referred to 1921, when it was thought the burner had been donated to the temple, but research and consultations with a censer maker has led him to believe it was made in about 1861.

He wrote that the loss of the burner was especially distressing for him as an adherent of Matsu.

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