The Making of Joss Papers 2
The Making of Joss Papers
Excellent Work of the 5th Cyber-Island Photography Contest
Photographer: He-Zhan Lin
Date and place photos were taken: 2008; Junan Township, Miaoli County

The making of joss papers.


Burning joss papers, a special ritual of Han Chinese people in Taiwan, is commonly applied in temple events and festivals when people worship gods and ancestors or pay respect to spirits. The main purpose of burning joss papers is to communicate with the gods world or the spirits world. The sale of joss papers in this old shop is far less now, but the old master still adheres to quality and insists on using tin foil as the material to produce joss papers. Because the quality of his papers is much better than the imports from south-east Asia, customers still come from many places to purchase them. The old master step by step produces these papers by hand; what we can see is persistence and tradition. However, how long can this all last? Making paper money one piece at a time, perhaps these old men and women really understand piety in worshiping ancestors and gods.

In the conversations with the old master, he revealed his pride and joy whenever the subject of his perseverance came up. But his helplessness and sorrow could be deeply felt when the topic turned to how the impacts of bargain imports gradually depressed the traditional industries. I hope people will pay attention to the traditional folk art and cultural heritage at the same time when they focus on economics and science and technology developments. After all, a culture can only be passed on by its native inhabitants.

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