A Day at Wong Tai Sin Temple
The Wong Tai Sin Temple is a huge affair, regrouping the 3 main religions represented in Hong Kong, Buddhism, Confucianism and Taoism. It’s tright in the center of Hong Kong – you get there by subway and come out (as always) through a huge, modern (and beautifully air conditioned) shopping center – but when you reach the temple you’re in another world. In front of the main altar, the thing to do is take a cup filled with numbered bamboo sticks, kneel in front of the altar and, while closing your eyes and thinking of a question, shake them until one falls out. This can be interpreted, for a price, by fortune-tellers outside the temple. Michel and I both got number 69, which got the guards (cleaners?) all excited – apparently it’s very good and no need to pay a fortune teller. He asked us if we’d asked about our marriage, and we both said yes – it was a lie, but it made him so happy…
Drawing here was a little tricky for me because people kept coming over to look, which tends to make me freeze up. I sort of got used to it though.
Here’s a view of worshipers burning incense before the main altar,with our friendly guard helping them out (he’s the one in the hat)
Shaking the bamboo sticks…
Gazing over the altar
A view of one of the smaller altars
Just outside the main altar, there are some spots to burn incense (the incense starts to burn your eyes after a while) – these are as popular as the main altars
Very shortly, you tire of the hustle and bustle (and incense smoke!). A few steps away, there is a sgarden with a fountain. There, all was calm – there was a woman knitting and a few people strolling around a pool, with a fountain shaped like a fish, where there were plenty of turtles swimming around and fighting over the rare places in the sun.
We hiked up some steps, and I salute Michel’s patience as he waited for me to sketch the colorful roofs – we were just meltingin the heat at this point! Unfortunately, the format here at WordPress distorts this drawing, which is my favorite of all the ones I did in HK. Try looking here for a better view.
Up a little farther we found some shade. I sketched a covered resting place just across from us, and next thing I knew a crowd of Chinese women were looking and commenting in Cantonese. Michel wanted toget a picture of that (it was over so quickly) so asked me to do another, but this time no one stopped.
Finally, here’s a view of the city from the very top of the temple, skyscrapers as far as you can see.
At this point we went back to the shopping center,found a Starbuck’s and had a mango smoothie!
Marta has asked that I give details of my traveling art supplies, so here’s a photo – not very extensive, I’m afraid – a large format moleskine watercolor sketchbook, a smaller ‘paperblanks’ sketchbook, a small box of Daler and Rowney watercolors, a pilot v-ball 07, some Pentel waterbrushes, Derwent water soluble pencils, plus a couple of 9B graphite pencils, a tortillon , pencil sharpener, erasers etc, not to mention the box of aspirin for the headaches the heat was giving me. . I actually think I could have cut down a little more – and my purse often felt way too heavy (with camera, guide book, etc.)