Pictures of Ancient Chinese
Culture in Taiwan
25 Symbols From the Past
You'll find traces of ancient Chinese culture and traditions all over Taiwan...
From the first moments after you'll land in Taipei, it'll be evident that Taiwan, in spite of being one of the most modern society in Asia, is still very attached to its past and its shared history with China.
You'll come across remnants of traditional Chinese culture in modern cities as well as in tiny villages lost in the Taiwanese countryside. You'll discover those symbols from the past everywhere - in people, buildings, objects, during Chinese festivals or simply while strolling around your hotel.
For many Taiwanese, Foguanshan is the most important center of Buddhism on the island.
Addicted to Chinese culture
There is no question about it - I am totally addicted to ancient Chinese culture. I've spent countless hours, camera in hand, walking the endless lanes of Taipei, visiting temples in remote towns, asking questions to locals, always getting the most bizarre answers. I can spend hours on a street corner, or by a rice paddy, waiting for the elements to fit, for the light to be just right, for the composition to tell the story.
Here, I want to share with you my passion for ancient Chinese culture. Let me show you the story Taiwan has been telling me since I've made it my home. I hope you'll enjoy these photos!
25 Pictures of Ancient
Chinese Culture in Taiwan
A traditional Chinese opera signer rehearses at the park in front of Longshan Temple, in Taipei City.
A man recites Buddhist scriptures during a religious ceremony in Longshan Temple, in Lugang.
A "Door God" in Tainan City. Fierce-looking, bearded warriors like this one guard most Chinese temples throughout Taiwan.
A man burns ghost money, so his ancestors can afford
a comfortable afterlife.
A Taiwanese woman offers a prayer to the gods during
Chinese New Year at Qingshui Zushi Temple in Sanxia.
In Taiwan, you'll see the most bizarre spiritual ceremonies. Here, a man pierced himself through both cheeks with a meter-long needle. I'd love to know what is the significance of the 1000$ bill.
Traditional religious performances can occur anywhere at any moment. If you hear the sound of drums, cymbals and firecrackers, it usually means that something is about to happen. Grab your camera and follow the music!
A classic ancient Chinese culture symbol - this massive censer adorns one of the hundreds of temples in Taichung City.
Self flagellation (Dangi) is often used to treat psychiatric illnesses. When I got to this scene, the guy was kind of just dancing around, but as soon as he realized I was taking pictures of him, he started hitting his head like a madman.
In ancient times, only the Chinese emperor and noblemen had lanterns painted with characters and dragons. Nowadays, they can be seen everywhere, year-round. Chinese paper lanterns can also be made in the shapes of animals. The best time to appreciate this form of art is during the Lantern Festival, at the end of the Chinese New Year period.
Taiqi (Tai Chi) is a kind of Chinese martial art. Most people consider it to be a form of meditation more than a self-defense discipline. You'll see groups of people practicing Taiqi in parks early in the morning or late at night.
This spirit possession ceremony occurred just behind my home. I asked the people what was going on and they told me they were celebrating a god's anniversary.
A monk solicits money from Taiwanese tourists outside
a temple in Guanziling.
That man was so wasted! I could smell the Kaoliang (strong rice wine from Kinmen Island) even though I was standing 3 meters away from him.
Another amazing encounter with ancient Chinese culture, in front of Biyun Temple, Guanziling, Tainan County.
Selling incense at Chaotian Temple's main entrance, in Beigang. She's definitely the most wrinkled person I've ever seen!
The three main religions in Taiwan are Buddhism, Daoism, and Confucianism. It is not unlikely to see elements from the three religions in the same temple.
A Taiwanese street opera performer is getting ready backstage,
on Little Liuqiu Island (Xiao Liuqiu).
A public parade, on one of the busiest roads
in downtown Taichung City.
Calligraphy and painting are the keepers of ancient Chinese culture, traditions, and history. Lugang, in Central Taiwan, is the best place to enjoy this traditional Chinese art.
As I've said before, the weird superstitions and beliefs that people have on this land often push them to do the most bizarre (shocking) things. Here, a chicken is about to get nailed to the floor through its eyes. The poor beast was kept alive for hours afterwards.
Colorful characters lead a religious procession in the countryside just outside Sanyi.
Taiwanese opera is a popular form of drama and musical theatre. The story elements are based on folk tales from Fujian Province, in southeast China.
The 22m-high Great Buddha Statue sits atop Baguashan, in Changhua City.