Sunday, March 11, 2007

Hanford Taoist Temple

National Register #72000226
Taoist Temple
12 China Alley
Built 1893

The Taoist Temple is now a museum.

Greeting the visitor at the top of the stairs are several large plaques covered with Chines characters, which list the names of members of the Sam Yup Association who donated monies for the building's construction. On the south wall are carved figures of the eight immortals (mythical personages likened to the Patron Saints in Catholicism) while their corresponding ceremonial staves are displayed next to the stairwell. Across the room is a ceremonial "oven" or incinerator in which were burned paper offerings of money or clothing to the individual's ancestors. Silk embroideries show symbolic animals and birds, the meaning of which are explained by docents. The tools of individual "worship" have remained where they were used, leaving a treasured legacy through which we may partially learn of their fascinating ways.