The Town of Wind Lion Gods
The Guardian of Kinmen
Kinmen used to boast abundant herbs and forestry resources in Tang dynasty. Deforestation began in Yuan dynasty as logging and salt industry started to thrive. Forestry resources gradually diminished to almost none after a series of turmoil in the following dynasties. As Kinmen became treeless, substantially strong winds brought by the Northeast monsoon caused serious sand storms and wind damages. People at the time brought in stone lions from Quanzhou and Zhangzhou as religious guardians that ward off evils. Wind Lion Gods were situated in the village or at places of severe wind damage. Gradually, the statues have become the symbol of an authentic local religion that worships Wind Lion God as the guardian of Kinmen.
Though Wind Lion God statues were originally installed to prevent wind damage, the deity gradually became multipurpose as it is believed to be very efficacious. For instance, it has the power of handling flooding situations, ominous fengshui of T-junctions, housing misfortunes, ant control, etc. People even resort to Wind Lion God in regard to incidents like missing cattle or thefts for it has always helped people with what they have asked for. To return the favor, locals make cloaks and offerings to Wind Lion Gods and pass down mysterious tales of the local guardians.
Wind Lion Gods Up Close
If you pay special attention to the details of Wind Lion Gods, you might be able to identify some of the religious indications embedded in the different gestures, facial expressions, accessories hanging from the neck or the items held in hand. You can also look for the intriguing details that indicate the sex of a wind lion. If there is a calabash or apparent apparatus in between the wind lion's legs, it is a male wind lion. If it is carrying a pom-pom or ribbon, it is a female wind lion.
In-Depth Travel in Kinmen — Lion Searching Adventure
When you visit Kinmen, why not plan a lion searching adventure with the aid of a tourist map? You can meet with local elders along the way and hear stories of the vivid and diverse wind lion gods scattered all over the island. After that, you are recommended to check out the iconic Wind Lion God mailbox in Shanhou Folk Culture Village where you can send out postcards stamped with a limited postmark to preserve the wonderful memories in Kinmen.