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Lin Fa Kung Temple

Floyd, William Pryor. Joss House on Black Rock, East Point, Hong Kong.

Hong Kong , 1868.

Albumen print, card mount. 8 ¾ x 11 ¾.

This is an excellent early photograph of Lin Fa Kung Temple by William Pryor Floyd. A survey of Floyd’s photographs in the China Mail of August 8, 1868 highlighted this photograph as “one of the most noteworthy of Floyd’s views of native Chinese architecture.”

The Lin Fa Kung Temple was built as a worship place for Kwan Yin, also known as Kwun Yam, the goddess of mercy during the Qing Dynasty in the southeast area of Causeway Bay, Hong Kong. Legend says that Kwun Yam was once seen presenting herself on Lotus Rock so worshippers built the temple near the rock to praise the goddess of mercy.

Traditional festivals still take place at the Lin Fa Kung Temple including the Zhongqiu Festival. In the 19th century the people of Tai Hang began preforming the spectacular “Fire Dragon Dance” during the festival to end a run of misfortune afflicting their village. To this day the tradition continues. A huge dragon made from straw and covered with burning incense sticks dances for three days and three nights accompanied by drummers and firecrackers.

This is a superb early photograph of one of Hong Kong’s prized temples before unique architectural elements were lost during renovations.