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How to Know Hong Kong and Macau

Roberto Ignacio Diaz, Dominic Cheung, Ana Paulina Lee, Authors

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On Shore, at Sea: Temple Configurations

Because Tin Hau is primarily connected to the sea, as the guardian of fishermen and sailors, it follows that the temples in her name would be built along the coast. In line with the fact that the majority of early Hong Kong settlers lived on the shores of the region, it makes sense that the shrines they constructed would be in these same locations--namely so that she could properly watch over them. Thus, Tin Hau temples were originally found along the coast, though many have since been moved inland and relocated.

Interior and exterior spaces

In addition to residing near the sea, there are additional elements that define Tin Hau temples. The most apparent is that Tin Hau, being the main deity, will be enshrined in the main hall; there, she may be flanked by her two demon companions, "Thousand Miles Eye" and "With-the-Wind Ear." Aside form the main hall, there may be side halls that house other Taoist or even Buddhist deities. Temples tend to be fragrant with the smell of incense, which burns in thick coils and hangs from the ceiling. Reds, golds, deep jades, and fuchsias tend to permeate the decor. Meanwhile, intricate carvings and roof tiles characterize the exterior. 
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