Temples in Taiwan are like folk arts museums. They collect detailed stone sculptures and elaborate wood decorations. Lukang Mazu Temple (鹿港媽祖廟) is one of the best in Lukang. Beautiful stone carving from Qing Dynasty can be seen in the back hall. What you see was renovated around 1920s in Japanese Colonial Era, and the original one was built in 1725. The temple was sponsored by locals, and Koo’s Family accounted for a major share.
In the front hall, you can see window carving made by stone and vivid painting with wood sculpture. In the main hall, stone carving is saying the story of Three Kingdoms in 200CE. Above the shrine, there is inscribed board which is given by a Qing Dynasty emperor. In the back hall, there are dragon pillars with five claws on each foot and they were a symbol for the emperor, especially in Qing Dynasty. Most common is three claws, and five claws dragon is rare.
Mazu is the indigenous goddess of the sea who is said to protect fishermen and sailors, and is invoked as the patron deity of all Southern Chinese and East Asian persons. Born as Lin Moniang (林默娘) in Fujian around 960 CE, worship of Mazu began around the Ming Dynasty. Lukang used to be a main harbor. Most of Lukang residents’ living was replied on trading and fishing on the sea. Therefore, Mazu Temple became the most important place for locals. There is a saying that a general came to Taiwan to conquer pirates. He took a Mazu statue and hope Mazu would bless them through the sea. After mission completed, the general asked the emperor to let Mazu stay in Taiwan. Afterwards, the Lukang Mazu Temple was built.
Followers of Lukang Mazu Temple is numerous and all over Taiwan. In every first to third month of lunar calendar, followers come to here for celebrating Mazu’s birthday. Some ceremonies are hold in Lukang and it definitely is crowded.