Anping Kaitai Mazu Temple
The history of An-ping Kai-tai Mazu Temple 歷史沿革
The temple to Mazu(媽祖) was first built in the district now known as Anping over three hundred and fifty years ago. In 1661, Koxinga (Cheng Cheng-kung), Yanping Prefect of the Ming Dynasty, moved to make Taiwan a base of resistance against the growing Cing forces. Reportedly encountering trouble strait, Koxinga's navy is said to have been guided to shore by a manifestation of Mazu. In gratitude, the seamen erected a temple in her name to celebrate her safeguarding their journey across the strait.
The village at Anping was devastated during the Sino-Japanese War(中日戰爭) of 1895 and reconstruction was long delayed by Japanese occupation and World War II. Rebuilding began in 1962 and was completed in 1975. Since then, Mazu, merciful goddess of the sea, has been worshipped by local people and entreated for blessings from danger, sickness and misfortune.
The pailou(牌樓) (“archway”) in front of the temple is described as a “mountain-shaped gate” (called shanmen in Mandarin) in Buddhism and serves to separate the secular world from the sacred area. The pagoda(寶塔) is guarded by twin dragon protectors and the temple is guarded by a lion and lioness that also support the doorposts. An additional support comes in the shape of a stone drum, thought to be an incarnation of the Dragon King's youngest son, sometimes called Jiaotu(椒圖), who, through shyness, liked to curl up in a spiral and stay quietly by the door.
Rather than images of door gods, the gate is decorated with studs arranged in symbolic multiples of nine. The main gate is a sacred entrance and may only be used by the gods. Mortal visitors enter by the “dragon door” on the right and leave by the “tiger door” on the left as you face the temple looking in. The names of the doors are themselves symbolic, signifying respectively “praying for blessings” and “preventing calamity”.
No.33, Guosheng Rd., Anping Dist., Tainan City 708, Taiwan (R.O.C.)
06 223 8695