S Q U AR E C LOT H F OR S Q U AR E TA B L E S : A L TAR A P R O N S I N CH I N E S E T E M P L E S I N S E A S I A – TAASA Review March 2011


This article was originally found in the March 2011 edition of TAASA Review (Volume 20, Issue 1, Page 18).

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Trevor Vale S tep over the threshold into many a large and busy Chinese temple in Southeast Asia – not a difficult exercise as there are many temples throughout the region with a reported 600 and more in Hong Kong alone (Raby 2005: 8) – and through the crowds and the smoke from joss sticks and incense coils, one is met with a bewildering collection of objects that surround and support the primary god and lesser deities.

Contributing to this wealth of imagery are embroidered fabric banners of auspicious red or gold that are suspended above temple entrances, over the deities and in other visually important positions.

Other fabrics adorn the deities, cover attendant figures and guardians, are suspended as canopies and grace the front of small altars and offerings tables as aprons. ...