Grading: Grade 3
Dogs are the most loyal friends of humans. In Tai O, there is a shrine with a stone statue of a dog, the only one of its kind in Hong Kong. Unlike other temples constructed with grand architecture, the shrine is small and inconspicuous, with a decapitated dog statue in the centre. The statue has been badly damaged by years of weathering, with only the lower limbs of the dog left. It is unclear when the head of the statue fell off. Some scholars think that the statue originated from the dog-worshipping tradition of the Yao and She tribes in southern China. It was believed that by worshipping the dog statue, evil spirits could be driven away. To the tribes, dogs — which give birth to many babies at one time — are regarded as a symbol of fertility. Nowadays, some Tai O residents still worship the dog statue to pray for peace and well-being.
Apart from the dog statue, there are a man-shaped stone that symbolises the Earth God, a stone tablet inscribed with the Chinese characters of “Namo Amitabha Buddha”, and a statue of Guanyin, showing a diversity of deities honoured in the shrine.
The project is supported by Lord Wilson Heritage Trust.
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