Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Hong Kong - Temples and Treasures

Other people go to Hong Kong to do deals, to go shopping, to eat on a grand scale, to have clothes made,
maybe to visit family.

It turned out, I was there for one reason only.  To WALK.  And to walk and to walk.

It is totally a walking city.  Most of these pictures were taken of temples in the Central District.  They are located in the vicinity of Hollywood Road the second oldest road in Hong Kong and where many antiques shops are also located.  Higher up is even a Mosque.

You pass by it if you take the outdoor escalator that leads you up the steep mountainsides that Hong Kong is set against.  What a brilliant concept that escalator!  That makes all the walking more manageable.

I love the art and decoration of Chinese temples.  Once again, the blends of the reds, greens, yellows and pinks with the reds predominating and pressing out of the dim interiors.  Those yellow coils are incense and you can see how they cloud the air with the smoke they produce.

They are such a fascinating visual.  So ordered, so hive-like.  So bell-like.  But silent.

They may well represent the expanding circles of consciousness and impact/interconnectedness that human (or all) life represents.  But I don't know.  I am no buddhist scholar.  I like to think they could.

The ceramics junkie in me adores the polychrome clay characters.  And their particular individualities.

I love the liveliness, the fondness and enthusiasm with which they are modeled.

The lively tableau of personalities they represent.

This temple was in Kowloon, off of Nathan Road, near the night markets.  Where you will find endless varieties of street food, bars and restaurants for carousing and a paradise of the cheap and cheerful of everything (and we know that it really IS everything) that is produced in China these days.

The Chinese, like many of us believe that a well lived life means having all the right accoutrements.  And this extends to life after death.

Being so much more practical than the Egyptians (with their life-size effigies and once-living mummies accompanying their gentry into eternity), the Chinese produce and provide these accoutrements to their dearly deceased in the form of paper reproductions.

(Replete with dancing maidens.)  Which are burned at the gravesites of their forebears.  In order that they should spend their afterlife in grand style.

It's wonderful, a great honor, and a state of grace to be in the presence of great art and craftsmanship.

It's a terrible tragedy for the Chinese people that so much of their cultural inheritance was destroyed forever in the Cultural Revolution.

Because it was a British colony, Hong Kong was spared the smashing and destruction.  The law of unintended consequences is manifest.  Hope you enjoyed temples and treasures.

p.s. look at the facade of the building on the left, with its bands of color going from green to orange!  AND WHY NOT!  

p.p.s. - thanks again to all who've stopped and left great comments.  sorry i haven't been visiting you all so much in the last week.  in preparation for a big sat. dinner , i'm cleaning, cooking, shopping.  when i'm done i'm going to tuck up on the sofa and come stay by you for awhile!  Cheers!


  1. Regardless of religion, I love visiting temples, churches, ashrams, etc. I can feel the magic and peace in these places. Loved your post about Kama'aina too...

  2. Stunning images on this post MP!

    Those coils were intriguing me so I was pleased to discover what they were. I was delighted to be taken for a walk as I have never been here or to much of Asia unfortunately!

    The paper productions for the deceased are extraordinary.
    thanks for you lovely comments... yesterday... time flies!

  3. Absolutely wondrous!! I'm mesmerized by the color the strangeness of it all. :-) Love the graveside accouterments. So much love in all that effort and detail.

  4. What a feast for the eyes! Thank you for sharing, the photos of temples with that haze of incense brought back all kinds of memories of the time I spent living in Nepal, staying at monasteries and living on the edges of such rich traditions. The sound of the prayer wheels around the Boudanath stupa, the smell of the incense, the chanting of the monks at dawn and dusk.
    Hongkong seems such a an interesting mix of new and old. What a fascinating place to have spent time in. Makes me long to travel again!!

  5. i'm sure there is alot more going on in these places than i understand but they do take you to a place esthetically and possibly spiritually that is definitely not part of MY everyday. (even to me Krista, there is a strangeness and surprise.) the coils and colors do make fabulous visuals glad i was able to capture part of them. juniper, sounds like you may have a better idea of the rituals and the routines associated with them.

    thanks all for coming by!!! theresa and sophie - i haven't forgotten you!

  6. What great photos! I would love to go around mainland China too one day and stop at places like Lijiang

  7. Ellen - I didn't know about LiJiang but just googled it...yeah! i would go there too! So many places, so little time!

  8. The photographs are fabulous and yes, I am now definite about my holiday in Hong Kong. I was vacillating between Singapore and Hong Kong for my vacation.