GangShan Shou Tian Gong
Gangshan District
10
1. Gangshal Screw Matsu Statue
At the 2015 Matsu Culture Festival-Screw Craftsmanship Carnival, the Gangshan Shotiangong Temple built the “Screw Matsu” for two months under the supervision of the Department of Visual Design, National Kaohsiung Normal University. The statue is made with a total of 38,000 screw fasteners, including 25,000 washers and 13,000 nuts. It is a work that integrates the most important industry and the most important folk religion in Gangshan to bolster tourism industry development with arts and religions and for visitors to understand more about Matsu and the screw industry in Gangshan. At the 2016 Matsu Culture Festival-Screw Craftsmanship Carnival, the temple built the statue of guards Qianliyan and Shunfeng’er with screws. Both statues carry a hollow and screw design. Each measures 200cm tall and is built with over 10,000 screw parts. The temple has also equipped them with LED lighting to demonstrate their power as the bodyguard of Matsu in the parade.
2. Tianjiao Litters (Large and Small)
Two Japanese-style litters in the karahafu style are left from the Gangshan Shinto Shrine. The karahafu is a common traditional Japanese architectural style. It is said that the style may have been adapted from the style in the Tang dynasty of China. The karahafu is characterized by an undulating (cusped) bargeboard of the building’s entrance. On each side of the large Tianjiao litter, there is a torii ornament. In addition to carvings and bird patterns on the body, a phoenix stands on the top to symbolize auspice and peace. On each corner there is a raising fern-like ornament called “bracken”.
3. Paper Molded Matsu
Currently, there are two types of paper-molded statues. One is made with a bamboo framework with cotton paper on top before painting. This type of paper-molded statues is often used in offering or the Ghost Festival transgression, as statues will be incinerated after the rituals. Another type of paper-molded statues is rare and more expensive. In the making process, after making a prototype of the statue with thick paper, thin specialty cotton paper is patched on top by layer, each three sheets, up to a total of 20 layers. Then, the water-based paint made with powdered minerals and water-based glue is coated on the surface. After that, the processes of wooden carving and clay sculpture are applied. After coating the powdered yellow clay on top, line lacquering, gold plating, and lacquering follow suit. Although the process is complex and complicated, it assures the durability of the statue for a hundred years. As the process is both labor and time consuming, the price is high. Therefore, it is rarely used after the Qing dynasty, and the skill is nearly extinct. The paper-molded statues of Matsu and maids in the Shotiangong Temple are made with both techniques. Although they have a bamboo framework and are coated with layers of cotton papers, they have been re-painted as the surface was mottled.
4. Komainu of Gangshan Shinto Shrine
A pair of komainu, another type of artefact from the Gangshan Shinto Shrine, stand in the temple square. It is said that komainu are the combination of lions and dogs originating from the Buddhist literature in India. After Tang Sanzang brought Buddhism to China in the Tang and further to Korea, Japan imported Buddhism and komainu as well from Korea. Therefore, komainu are also called the “Korean dog”. The one on the left opens its mouth ready for an attack, and the one on the right shuts its mouth sitting silently for protection. Symbolically, the one with the opening mouth represents the sound “aum” and the one with the shutting mouth represents the sound “hum”.
5. Record of Embankment Construction Stone tablet
The stone tablet was erected in 1776, the same age as the USA. It is a granite stone tablet accounting for the construction of the embankment through fundraising to stop the flood of the Agongdian River during summer and autumn in early years. Therefore, it is an important historical record for studying the economic development and hydrology of Gangshan. Originally erected at the at the southwest corner of the junction of Weiren Road and Heping Road, the stone tablet was relocated to the left side of the temple square in about 1980 for display.
6. Temizuya Tank of Gangshan Shinto Shrine
The “temizuya” of Gangshan Shinto Shrine was a pavilion originally built next to the second torii and in front of the kannushi (god master)’s office. Inside the emizuya there is a ladled scoop for worshipper to cleanse their body and mind before worshipping in the shrine.
Saviors
Tianshang Shengmu (Matsu)
Worship Process
Prepare a pack of joss paper and put the offerings and joss paper on the alter in front of the statute of deity to be worshipped.

After presenting one incense stick at the Tiangong incense burner, enter the hall from the dragon side (worship outside of the Shengmu hall). Worship from the main deity at the center. Worshippers can read out their names, addresses, birthdays on the lunar calendar, and wishes. After worshipping, turn toward the deities on the dragon side and worship them before worshipping deities on the tiger side. If there are accompanying deities on the east and the west (e.g. 60 star-gods in the Doulao hall and the 18 arhats in the Guanying hall on the 2nd floor), worship those on the dragon side before those on the tiger side. After the worship, leave the hall from the exit on the tiger hall and put three incense sticks in the Tiangong incense burner. Then, the worship is completed.
History
With the double of Matsu from Tainan Grand Matsu Temple as the main deity, the Gangshan Shotiangong Temple was built in 1712. In May 1776, the temple was rebuilt at the intersection of Weiren Road and Heping Road in Gangshan District. In 1937 during the Japanese colonization, the temple was demolished for reasons including flood prevention and road construction. The 200+ year-old temple was then disappear in history.

After the restoration of Taiwan, local gentries including Yang Fu, Wu Rui-tai, Dai Liang-qing formed a reconstruction quickly to raise funds to rebuild the “Shotiangong Temple” at the present address: No. 40 Gongyuan Road, Shotian Borough, Gangshan District (previously the Gangshan Shinto Shrine).

The reconstruction of the Fude Shrine of the Tianshogong Temple was initiated in 1986 and completed on December 10, 1987.

On March 12, 1993, the Yuhuang hall and Guanyin hall were reconstructed at Matsu’s decree. Both halls were completed on January 31, 2002 and May 21, 2008 respectively. With a new appearance, magnificent look, and a range of deities, the temple attracts more and more worshippers. Two modifications were made in 2009 and 2011 to build an activity center and the office building.
Religious Festival
All dates are expressed on the lunar calendar.
January 9: Birthday ritual of Yuhuang Dadi (Jade Emperor)—A seven-day star procession will be held until January 15 to pray for the descent of all stars to bless prosperity and fortune on the earth and peace and safety for all people.

February 2: Birthday ritual of Tudi (Village (Tutelary) God).

February 15: Spring ritual.

March 23: Birthday ritual of Tianshang Shengmu (Matsu)

July 15: Ghost Festival Transgression Ritual

September 9: Autumn ritual
Story
The screw industry is the dominant industry in Gangshan, accounting for 16% of the global output. The district is thus called the “Kingdom of Screw”. Therefore, the temple has built the unique screw Matsu statue in Taiwan to combine the Matsu religion and the local screw industry. This screw Matsu statue measuring 200cm tall and 115cm wide and weighing 500kg costs NT$1.5 million links local industries and local religons.
Driving:
National Freeway No.1 → Gaogangshan Interchange → City road No.186 to Jieshou East Road → Taiwan Provincial Highway No.1 and turn right to North via Gongshan Road → Shoutian Road (Taiwan Provincial Highway No.19-Jia) → National Gongshan Senior High School → Gongshan Shoutian temple.

MRT:
MRT R24 Gangshan South station → take the bus R69A → National Gongshan Senior High School → Gongshan Shoutian temple.
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