China - Table of Contents........... Architecture Around the World

Man Mo Temple
126 Hollywood Road, Hong Kong, China

2013 photos beneath text

A Man Mo Temple or Man Mo Miu is a temple for the worship of the civil or literature god Man Tai / Man Cheong and the martial god Mo Tai/ Kwan Tai. The two gods were popularly patronized by scholars and students seeking progress in their study or ranking in the civil examinations in the Ming and Qing dynasties. There are several Man Mo Temples in Hong Kong.

As a renowned warrior, Mo Tai is worshiped in some instances as a slayer of demons. As a military general faithful to his warlord master and loyal to his men, he is seen as an upholder of the code of brotherhood, honor and righteousness. As such, Mo Tai is worshiped by the police and by underground criminal societies alike as a protector of bonds and a guardian of the loyalty such organizations demand. There is even a shrine to Mo Tai in every Hong Kong police station.

Built in 1847, during the early years of British rule in Hong Kong, this remains the largest Man Mo temple in Hong Kong.

During the 1900s, it is said that locals came here to solve disputes that could not be solved by British law. The process of finding an equitable solution involved the legal system of the Qing Dynasty, which stated that both plaintiff and defendant should make a promise in the temple and write it - along with a curse or punishment - on a piece of yellow paper. They then killed a chicken, chopped off its head, let its blood drip onto the paper, and burned the paper. It was believed that because the promise was made before the gods, if the individual broke the promise they would suffer the indicated punishment.

Many Chinese preferred this justice system to the British system.

- A View on Cities (online Feb. 2014)

Wikipedia: Taoism
(online Feb. 2014)

Daoism is pronounced /ˈdaʊ.ɪzəm/, but English speakers disagree whether Taoism should be /ˈdaʊ.ɪzəm/ or /ˈtaʊ.ɪzəm/.

Taoism (modernly Daoism) is a philosophical, ethical, and religious tradition of Chinese origin that emphasizes living in harmony with the Tao (also romanized as Dao). The term Tao means "way", "path" or "principle", and can also be found in Chinese philosophies and religions other than Taoism. In Taoism, however, Tao denotes something that is both the source and the driving force behind everything that exists.

Taoist schools traditionally feature reverence for Laozi, immortals or ancestors, along with a variety of divination and exorcism rituals, and practices for achieving ecstasy, longevity or immortality.

Chinese alchemy (especially neidan), Chinese astrology, Chan (Zen) Buddhism, several martial arts, Traditional Chinese medicine, feng shui, and many styles of qigong have been intertwined with Taoism throughout history.

Throughout Chinese history, Taoism was several times nominated as state religion. After the 17th century, however, it fell much from favor.


At certain dates, food may be set out as a sacrifice to the spirits of the deceased or the gods, such as during the Qingming Festival. This may include slaughtered animals, such as pigs and ducks, or fruit. Another form of sacrifice involves the burning of Joss paper, or Hell Bank Notes, on the assumption that images thus consumed by the fire will reappear - not as a mere image, but as the actual item - in the spirit world, making them available for revered ancestors and departed loved ones. At other points, a vegan diet or full fast may be observed.

Also on particular holidays, street parades take place. These are lively affairs which invariably involve firecrackers and flower-covered floats broadcasting traditional music. They also variously include lion dances and dragon dances; human-occupied puppets (often of the "Seventh Lord" and "Eighth Lord"); tongji ("spirit-medium; shaman") who cut their skin with knives; Bajiajiang, which are Kungfu-practicing honor guards in demonic makeup; and palanquins carrying god-images. The various participants are not considered performers, but rather possessed by the gods and spirits in question.

Fortune-telling—including astrology, I Ching, and other forms of divination - has long been considered a traditional Taoist pursuit. Mediumship is also widely encountered in some sects. There is an academic and social distinction between martial forms of mediumship (such as tongji) and the spirit-writing that is typically practiced through planchette writing.
Photos taken in December 2013

Entrance detail.
Scaffolding throughout China, including scaffolding for skyscrapers, is bamboo ... Ceramic tile-ends

Entrance detail: ceramic tile-ends

Door detail (middle left panel) below:

Door detail - Dragon


Detail below:

Outdoor oven where sacrifices are made.

Photos and their arrangement 2013 Chuck LaChiusa
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