Sunday, April 8, 2012

Pandas in temples

Inside Taiwan's temples, you're likely to find carved, etched or painted depictions of various animals, especially dragons, lions and elephants, but also owls, pangolins, fish, crabs and other crustaceans.

Returning to Shunsian Temple (順賢宮) for the first time in almost three years, I noticed something I'd missed on previous visits: Etchings of pandas in a mountainous landscape. As I've never before noticed pandas inside temples, I'm wondering if their presence here reflects the temple's newness. The shrine was inaugurated in 2008 - the year panda-fever broke out in Taiwan when China presented a pair of pandas to Taipei Zoo.

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