It is said that most Taiwanese practice a mixture of Buddhism, Taoism and folk beliefs. But what are these folk beliefs and how are they
Taiwanese folk religion is centered on the concepts of attracting good fortune and repelling ill fortune. Pursuing Good Fortune -- Taiwanese Folk Cultural Artefacts, the new special exhibition at the Museum of World Religions in Yonghe (
The entryway to the exhibition is narrow and crooked and co-vered with floor-to-ceiling pictures of brick walls and curving Chinese roofs. It gives you the sense of walking through the narrow alleyways of a small town somewhere in Taiwan.
The first section of the exhibition is dedicated to "spaces" and contains a temple display and a residential display. The representation of a traditional Taiwanese temple is much simplified yet unmistakable: Imposing, angry-looking painted generals stand guard on either side of the door; stylized mythical beasts sit atop beams and pillars; and the altar inside is illuminated with red light.
Special attention is given to the beasts in this section of the exhibition. The sculptures of phoenixes, dragons and lions all have their specific duties of protecting the temple. For example, a dragon-fish beast called the aoyu (
Some of the more humorous items in the residential display are the clay "wind lions" (
The section on personal items contained mostly pendants worn to ward off evil spirits, including the donut-shaped coin pendants that are still popular today.
Some of the exhibition's most beautiful items were the ceremonial baby clothes in the stages-of-life section. The little caps adorned with embroidered mythical beasts were especially
As informative as the exhibition is, non-Chinese-reading visitors should bring a Taiwanese friend along with them to
translate, as the artefacts' descriptions are in Chinese only.
The NT$150 ticket for admission gets you into the rest of the museum, which contains some lovely displays, such as intricate models of major world temples. To get to the museum, take the Nanshijiao MRT line to Dingxi Station and wait for the free Sogo shuttle outside Exit 1. The museum is in the same building as Sogo.
What: Pursuing Good Fortune ? Taiwanese Folk Cultural Artefacts(
Where: Museum of World Religions, 7F, 236 Zhongshan Rd, Yonghe, Taipei (
Telephone: (02) 8231 5966
When: To Feb. 10, 2006
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