Saturday, July 28, 2007

Creative (This week's Photo Hunt theme)

The Hainanese Temple on Muntri Street near the center of the old part of George Town, Penang's capital city, is formally known as Thean Ho Keong (trans., "Temple of the Heavenly Queen"). Founded sometime before 1866 (though no one is certain when exactly), that which is dedicated to the Taoist goddess known as Mah Chor to the Hokkiens (and, evidently, the Hainanese as well) -- but Tin Hau to the Cantonese who also have built many Tin Hau temples in her honor in Hong Kong and Macau -- actually is not Penang's oldest temple. (Instead, that honor goes to the Kuan Yin (i.e., Goddess of Mercy) Temple which dates back to 1800.)

And although many of you viewing the photographs of it -- specifically, one of its front facade and three close-up shots of some of its many intricately carved decorative stone panels that I'm sure you'd agree make for an impressive testament to human creativity -- on this entry may not be able to believe it, neither is it the most highly decorated traditional Chinese building on the island! (Instead, that honor has to fall to the Khoo Kongsi (i.e., the Khoo Clan House) which I have to admit that I've no photographs of to share -- but, should you be curious, you can go here to check out some photos of this ultra-elaborately decorated structure.)

Something else that some of you might be surprised to find out: Although they're very traditional looking, the carvings actually were only done in 1995. So, yes, however ancient the artistic tradition may look and be, the fact of the matter is that it's one which also is very much alive and well -- albeit not in Malaysia...since the sculptors involved in the creative enterprise had to be especially brought from Mainland China to Penang to carry out the work.


jmb said...

One can't imagine the time and creativity to produce these beautiful works and the wonderful building. As usual you give us so much more than the photos.
Thanks for visiting

Gattina said...

Wonderful pictures and very interesting explanation. I love chinese culture (even without cats) and the architecture is really beautiful.

YTSL said...

Hi jmb and Gattina --

Thank you for your return visits and continued interest in the info I dispense as well as the photos I put up. :)

lissa 07 said...

Always an interesting read. Don't know if I would do much research for art but I think it's worth it.

Thanks for commenting at my blog.

Anonymous said...

That’s really a creative and cool place. I never failed to bring my guests there for some photography. In fact, I have dozens of photos of that place. Happy Weekend!

A. said...

Those are beautiful carvings, so intricate. The great thing is that the tradition is being carried on, even if it's in another country. So often crafts of that sort aren't valued and later generations don't keep them up.

Andree said...

It's comforting to know that some of the great artisans are still learning these things so that they are not lost like so many other skills. these are beautiful.

Anonymous said...

What fabulous sculptures. I love looking at these kinds of things. Great photos and thanks for sharing. Have a great weekend.

Anonymous said...

wow, those are wonderful pictures!! Beautiful

YTSL said...

Hi Lissa --

You put what appears to be a lot of effort and creativity into your photography. So I feel obliged to put some effort into my Photo Hunt entries -- albeit in a different way from you -- too. :)

Hi Criz --

Snap! Wonder whether our paths ever crossed at some point at the Hainanese Temple? ;o

Hi A. and meeyauw --

Agreed re the carvings being beautiful and that it's cool to know that the tradition continues. :)

Hi kissedalotoftoads --

You're welcome re the sharing and thank you -- and everyone else who has -- for visiting! :)

Hi tegdirb92 --

Must admit that I wish I had taken better pictures of the sculptures. But, hey, these do do the job of showing how beautiful those carvings are. So... :)

Dragonheart, Merlin, Devi, and Chloe said...

That temple and its carvings look amazing! Thank you for sharing some of the history of it. A lot of creativity went into those carvings!

Chen said...

Yeah, I know the Hainanese Temple. I took several shots of the temple in the past too ;)

Chen said...

Those are indeed lovely and creative cravings :)

Smalltown RN said...

very creative and your explanation is very much appreciated...great choice for the theme....thanks for visiting my blog

Unknown said...

beautiful work! great theme! thanks for visiting also.

YTSL said...

Hi dragonheart --

You're welcome re the sharing bit and thanks for your interest as well! :)

Hi Chen --

Another Malaysian Photo-Hunter. Welcome! :)

Hi Smalltown RN and Expat Traveller --

My turn to say: thanks for visiting! :)

jams o donnell said...

THat is beautiful. Great pics and a belated happy weekend!

YTSL said...

Hi jams --

Happy belated weekend to you too and all else who've visited! :)