Wed, Feb 27, 2019 - Page 4 News List

Chiayi design student builds model of Tian Gong Tan

By Lin Yi-chang and Sherry Hsiao  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

Lee Che-wei poses next to a model of Tian Gong Tan that he built at the temple in Chiayi County on Feb. 16.

Photo: Lin Yi-chang, Taipei Times

A multimedia design student in Chiayi County’s Puzih City (朴子) has built an architectural model of the city’s Tian Gong Tan (天公壇) dedicated to the Jade Emperor (天公), the Taoist god of heaven.

Lee Che-wei (李哲維), 17, who attends Wan-Neng Senior Industrial and Commercial Vocational School, comes from a single-parent family and was raised by his grandmother, who frequently took him to temples as a child.

He took over the responsibility of worshiping at home when he was in junior-high school, as his grandmother was aging, Lee said.

Three years ago, he was inspired by renovations at the Pei Tian Gong (配天宮) following a fire, he said.

He created an architectural model of Pei Tian Gong, which was exhibited at the temple a year later, Lee said.

When Tian Gong Tan chairman Lin Po-wen (林博文) heard about the model, he asked Lee to build a model of Tian Gong Tan.

Lee began working on the model in July last year and completed it last month.

The main body of the model was made from cardboard, while the smaller parts, such as offerings and the head of a statue of the Jade Emperor, was made from paper clay, Lee said.

He used acrylic paint to decorate different objects and clear glue to give the food offerings a glossy finish and cut out red and gold-colored decorations from last year’s presidential red envelope to use in the model and installed an LED above the statue of the Jade Emperor.

He worked on the model after school and during holidays, sometimes staying up as late as 5am, Lee said.

The process of building the model allowed him to gain a deeper understanding of traditional beliefs in Taiwan, he added.

He took many photographs of the temple for reference and spoke with temple staff, who taught him about the local culture, history and architecture, he said.

The model was displayed at the temple during the Lunar New Year holiday, temple staff said.

Several people noted the intricacy of the model when visiting the temple on Feb. 13, the ninth day of the lunar year and the Jade Emperor’s birthday, they said.

Lee, the youngest member of Pei Tian Gong’s scripture recitation team and a volunteer at Tian Gong Tan, said he has gotten used to spending holidays and weekends at temples.

Hopefully religious culture that gives people a sense of stability can continue to be passed down to future generations, he said.

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