Mazu exhibit kicks off at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport


Visitors examine a display at an exhibition on Mazu, goddess of the sea, Dec. 4 at Terminal 2 of Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport. (Courtesy of GA

An exhibition celebrating Mazu, goddess of the sea, opened Dec. 4 at Terminal 2 of Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport, spotlighting the country’s culture and religious traditions.

Organized by Taipei City-based General Association of Chinese Culture, the exhibition showcases unique aspects of Taiwan folk religion such as annual Mazu pilgrimages and related ceremonies. The display will run through Feb. 28, 2018, and is an extension of the organization’s previous Mazu exhibition that wrapped up earlier this year at GACC headquarters.

Chang Tieh-chih, GACC deputy secretary-general, said learning about rituals such as Mazu pilgrimages is key to understanding local religious practices. He added that the goal of the Taoyuan event is to raise international awareness of Taiwan’s unique cultural attributes.

To help spotlight the nation’s creativity, the exhibition employs various innovative technologies, Chang said. One example is a special printer that can be linked to visitors’ Instagram accounts, allowing participants to take home complimentary photos with specially designed borders.

An interactive display is also available in traditional Chinese and English, providing in-depth information on the origin and development of certain religious practices as well as tales of the sea goddess.

Mazu worship originated in the coastal areas of mainland China’s Fujian province before making its way across the Taiwan Strait in the 1730s, becoming one of the island’s dominant religions with more than 1.4 million adherents.

GACC, established in 1967 and headed by President Tsai Ing-wen, works to deepen people’s understanding of local traditions, foster international exchanges and facilitate the development of Taiwan’s cultural and creative industries.