Tuesday, January 15, 2013

A Koxinga shrine with a difference

It can be argued that Koxinga is one of the three or four most significant individuals in Taiwan's history. If it wasn't for him, Taiwan may well have beea Dutch colony until after World War II. If he hadn't set up a mini-kingdom in opposition to China's Qing Empire, it's quite possible the Qing would have ignored Taiwan, in which case Taiwan may well have been incorporated into the Japanese Empire a few decades earlier than it was.

Temples dedicated to and named after Koxinga can be found in several parts of Taiwan. This one, near Dajia in Taichung City (台中市大甲區), is unusual in having a domed roof [top left], “a bit like a mosque,” according to the local history expert who showed us around. The broken safe [pictured right] was the result of the temple's managers forgetting the secret combination, not robbery, he said. There's no evidence that Koxinga himself visited Dajia, but during the siege of Fort Zeelandia, he sent foraging expeditions to this area (and other parts of Taiwan) to gather food for his army.

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