Hints of spring, Tainan, Taiwan

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In the saturated blue sky of a Malaysian neighborhood that borders the jungle, at a time when monkeys and orioles start to prepare to go to bed, it is almost incongruous to travel back my neurons to remember the other part of that winter break in Tainan I have already started to tell about. Yet it would be unfair to the old pretty town to forget the gems showed to me enveloped into that gentle soft warm breeze.
It would also be a pity for anybody travelling to Tainan to miss its unique temples: Tainan used to be the capital before Taipei and has lovely ancient pieces of an architecture and art that you can see only in Taiwan.
These below are moments of a tour through temples dotting the centre.

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These pictures come from the Lady Linshui’ s temple, a very popular and ornate place. On one side I find it a tiny bit too rich in decoration, on the other it is quite hard to resist to that exuberance.

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Next to come in the picture below are some woodcarvings from the Dongyue temple a dark , incense filled place. I still find quite amazing that next to depictions of hell and punishments strengthened by layers of ash and prayers, there are such tender and pastel woodcarvings. These fish and squid swimming in the sea of sunlight are such a joyous image produced by a skilled carver with simple and immediate fantasy.

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The next one shows the entrance panel with graceful stone carvings and above knights roaming a lush happy forest.

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The City God temple has a lovely roof , an example of the exuberance and playfulness of the traditional architecture in Taiwan.

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The Altar of Heaven temple is busy burning incense. That same Saturday we met a procession going back to the temple: it must have been one small festival or celebration day in the city.
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The dragon carved in this pillar seems almost moving, ready to sprint up.
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Coming from Italy, my eyes have grown with an ideal of beauty that is balanced or naturalistic or measured to smoothen the storms of life away from the surface or trying to climb the heights of faith to reach the entry to heaven. Surely there was a gap to cross to fully appreciate Taiwanese traditional arts and imagery: not that the images were not immediately attractive in their gaiety, sinuosity , grace and energy, yet it was time for me to accustomise to a different way of telling stories: only after entering into the details, the playful energy twisting in the figures, the dynamic poses, after immersing in the fairy like ambiences of carved forests and seas, I really felt that world around me, recreated through chisels and scalpels, the simplicity and yet richness of the imagination that guided the hands creating it.
Giving time to your eyes is the trick to enjoy even more.

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