Chapter 8. Chinese


The Temple of Confucius in Qufu has nine courtyards. Everything about the Circular Mound Altar in the Temple of Heaven complex comes in nine or a multiple of nine. Nine, being the largest single-digit odd number, is extremely yang. It represents the Chinese dragon, the Chinese emperor, and the 9 circles of heaven.

Temple of Heaven, Beijing

The circular structure of the The Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests is made of wood without a single nail. It was built by 1420 during the Ming Dynasty. Inside, it is richly lacquered in vermilion, cobalt, gold, and green with dragons and chrysanthemums. Its three-tiered roof rises 125 feet. In 1889, it was rebuilt after it was hit by lightning and burned down.

Temple of Confucius, Qufu

The Xing Tan pavilion or Apricot platform, reminds us that Confucius taught his students under an apricot tree. The pavilion is open on the sides. Its vermilion pillars support a double tile roof with ornate friezes.

Tin Hau temples, Hong Kong

The temple at Fat Tong Mun faces Joss House Bay, named for the temple, known as a joss house. It contains an altar for Tin Hau. One of over a hundred Tin Hau temples in Hong Kong. Tin Hau, or Mazu, is the goddess of sailors and fishermen. The Fat Tong Mun temple hosts a big celebration every year on her birthday.