temples are typically constructed on the most sacred site as according
to feng shui, a geometric system followed by most Chinese. In Macau, most
temples are built facing the sea or a broad valley with its back to a
hill, which is the home for potentially dangerous dragons.
In all temples, the
roof is a dominant feature. It is usually either green or yellow in color,
with rounded tiles that are steeply raked. The ridgepole is adorned with
porcelain figures of divinities and fortuitous symbols, such as the dragon
and carp. Eaves are profusely decorated with colorful wooden carvings
or clay friezes. Stone lions often act as temple guardians at the front
Basically, all temples
have a small courtyard with a large bowl for burning incense and paper
offerings. Beyond the courtyard is the main hall with an altar table,
which is commonly carved in an abstruse manner, for placing the Five Ritual
Vessels (an incense burner, candlesticks, and a flower vase) and offerings
of fruit and soft drinks. At the back is the altar with its images framed
by red brocade embroidered with gold characters. A bigger temple may house
extra side altars and adjoining rooms with shrines to different gods,
chapels for prayers to the dead, and displays of funerary plaques, gongs,
and drums. There are also living quarters for the temple keepers.
Macau's temples are separately
managed and financed by contributors from the faithful.
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