Palace of art and religion
Around 390 years ago, Ling Ding Guo, a ship owner from Fujian, requested the golden statue of Mazu from Mazu Temple in Meizhou to safeguard his voyage across from Fujian to Taiwan. Upon passing Bengang, the Mazu god made its presence and signified its will to reside here permanently. Bengang villagers jointly built a Tianfei temple in Qing dynasty during Kangxi period, and later on renamed it Tianhou temple. However a catastrophic flood in Bengang during the ruling of Jiaqing Emperor resulted in the shift to Mayuan Liao. General Wang De Lu, responsible for protecting Taiwana��s frontier, donated part of his salary to the construction of Fengtian temple for worshiping Mazu. From then on, this a�?Mother of the shipa�? became the guardian of Xingang.
The worlda��s only golden tiger god
Xingang is small enough that even visitors can easily spot the Xingang Tianfeng Temple in the intersection of Xinmin road and Zhong Shan road. The structure is built facing south on Zhong Shan road. Considered one of the largest temples in street house style, the front of the temple is about 7 rooms wide; the 3-curved roofs, main hall, alter at the back and Lingxiao hall made up the length of the building.
The caisson ceiling in the Lingxiao hall is magnificent and grand. a�?Zhen Dian Maa�? standing at 200m tall, is the largest god of worship in the main hall alongside Guanyin, Wenchang Wang, Guan Yu and the Bengang City God. But what stands out the most is the worlda��s only golden Zhuang Yuan Tiger god, sitting on the worship table. Ita��s definitely worth stopping by at this traditional minnan architecture to view the relics collected during its journey from Bengang, as well as look at the delicate designs of its roofing and wooden structures built by the skilled craftsmen. If you are really short on time, be sure not to miss the koji art works after worship.
The scope of the delicate koji pottery
The decorative koji pottery is commonly found on Chinese architectures, especially the temples in Taiwan. Xingang Fengtian Temple has kept walls of koji pottery decorations made by 3 generations of masters including Lin Zai Xing, Hong Kun Fu, Shi Lian Chi, along with the next 2 generations of disciples during the end of Qing dynasty. It is a rare find among the temples in Taiwan. The colorful koji pottery is baked in low temperature resulting in a soft texture. Most of the decorations are placed high on the ledges near the roof, corbels and gables to avoid damage. The gem glaze is used to create a radiant color similar to gemstones. The effect of the glaze varies according to the shape of the pottery. Apart from being decorations in a temple, most of the lifelike koji pottery figurines depict moral values from folklore and myths, such as Oath of the Peach Garden, Filial Piety Moves the Heaven and Earth. A visit to the Fengtian Temple is like exploring a fascinating museum of koji pottery.