The Matsu Nangan Heavenly Empress Palace


The Matsu Nangan Heavenly Empress Palace [馬祖南竿天后宮] is the religious center of Matsu… legend says that the body of Mazu [媽祖] (Lin Moniang) drifted and stopped here.


The temple today keeps the tomb containing the personal belongings of Mazu. Craig Ferguson supplies an excellent overview of Mazu’s story:

Mazu the goddess was originally a woman named Lin Moniang (林默娘) who lived in Fujian, China during the early Song dynasty (960-1127). One day, a terrible typhoon arose while they were out at sea, and the rest of her family feared that those at sea had perished. In the midst of this storm, depending on the version of the legend, she either fell into a trance while praying for the lives of her father and brothers or dreamed of her father and brothers while she was sleeping. In either the trance or the dream, her father and brothers were drowning, and she reached out to them, holding her brothers up with her hands and her father up with her mouth. However, her mother now discovered her and tried to wake her, but she was in such a deep trance or dream that it seemed like she was dead. Her mother, already believing the rest of their family dead, now broke down, crying, believing that Lin Moniang had also just died. Hearing her mother’s cries, in pity, she gave a small cry to let her mother know she was alive, but in opening her mouth, she was forced to drop her father. Consequently, Lin Moniang’s brothers returned alive (sadly without their father) and told the other villagers that a miracle had happened and that they had somehow been held up in the water as a typhoon raged.


I would suggest following the link to Craig’s site, as his photographs of the Dajia Mazu Festival are simply stunning.



I don’t know what is it with me and taking this type of photo, with a lion in the lower right hand corner of the foreground aiming the camera upwards toward something in the background… maybe I need to be more creative with angles.



Adjacent to the temple are some abandoned-concrete defensive fortifications:



Also near the temple is a school, at stores you can buy bottles of Matsu wine that looks like the white sign:


More Matsu Posts

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