Bodies and Structures 2.0: Deep-Mapping Modern East Asian History

The Qing'an Temple: Meizhou and the Heimian Mazu Cult

Xu Zisang and other Jilong residents fortified the sacred geography of the Qing'an Temple shortly after completing its renovation. In 1914, Xu led a group of nine across the Taiwan Strait, to the original home of the Mazu cult on Meizhou Island, a little north of Quanzhou. At the temple there, they lit incense and renewed the Qing'an's image of the deity, which they carried home to Jilong in a portable shrine. This trip marked a historic turning point for the temple. It was the first time in the temple's history that parishioners had made such a trip, therefore at this time they essentially made a proclamation of the Qing'an's autonomy from a Taiwan-based parent temple and its establishment of a direct linkage, through incense-division, to Mazu's ur-temple. Moreover, the new likeness was the heimian (or black-faced) Mazu, and the Qing'an Temple quickly became a center in Taiwan for this particular manifestation of the deity. Shortly before embarking on a mission to attack and control indigenous people near Hualian in 1915, some Jilong residents prayed in front of this black-faced Mazu. When they emerged victorious, this version of Mazu gained popularity across Taiwan and the Qing'an became her parent temple on the island, developing its own branches and incense-division network. Each year, on the appointed day for the temple's Mazu festival, representatives of the branch temples joined Jilong residents in the celebration.

Continue along this pathway to explore more of Jilong's pre-colonial sacred geography. Or click here to return to the module landing page to choose another itinerary.

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