Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Taipei Mooching

I thought bajiajiang could only be men, but this one looks female to me. Also, note the green colored contacts, making it extra cool.

I STILL have a bit of a headache so I'm not posting much in terms of writing today. Sorry!

Yesterday, Brendan and I went on a long walk around northwest Taipei - we started at Xingtian Temple, walked up Linsen to Chengde and up Chengde to Kulun and then Hami Street, where we stopped in at the Confucius Temple and Bao'an Temple. We also stopped in a few bookstores (Caves, the Hess bookstore) just for fun.

We then walked down Dihua Street for a stretch, then down Yanping to find a snack, then over to Anxi and back to Dihua where we had dinner. While having dinner, a group of bajiajiang unexpectedly came up on the City God Temple, so we took some photos of that before walking back to Zhongshan for coffee and then heading home.

I took this set of photos, despite the bad weather, while doing that walk, and posted the best ones end-to-beginning below.


Another shot of the green-eyed bajiajiang (array of 8 martial guards found in Taiwanese temple parades, wearing face paint and other accoutrements)

Bajiajiang inside Xiahai City God Temple with the leader, who did a dance outside that involved kicking burning ghost money.

This troupe was friendly (as friendly as bajiajiang are allowed to be in costume/in part) and eager to be photographed. I suspect, with the age and the enthusiasm, that this is a new troupe.

I enjoyed the chance to take photos of them taking off their costumes - note weapons going down, makeup coming off, hats and wigs lifted off. Mircea Eliade would have called the bajiajiang, in costume, as being in a "sacred" act - that's why they can't speak, they will maul you if they are doing a martial demonstration and you are too close, they can't eat, talk or drink in sight and have to cover themselves with a fan if they do any of these things. To do those human things while acting as a non-human entity is forbidden.

But here, they're leaving that state and becoming young boys again, and it's interesting to see the transition between sacred and "profane" (normal life).

This well known old hospital building is on Yanping N. Road and is a fine example of Japanese-era architecture in Taiwan.

Recently restored windows at the Taipei Confucius Temple

A young girl at the Confucius Temple - just then I was hanging my little plaque, which you can buy in the gift shop, asking Confucius to help me get into and get through grad school successfully.

Temple decorations on a dreary day (it became sunnier later on) at Taipei's Confucius Temple

Handing out incense at Xingtian Temple

Prayer and offerings at Xingtian Temple on Tomb Sweeping Day

Picnicking family at Xingtian Temple's (Xingtian Gong or 星天宮) outer gate.

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