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.
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