Pingtung breaks ground on King Boat cultural museum

The Pingtung County Government broke ground on the King Boat cultural museum Wednesday, which will be the first museum in Taiwan about a 300-year-old plague-expelling religious ritual involving specially built vessels.

At the groundbreaking ceremony for the King Boat cultural museum, which is sited next to the Donggang Police Station in the port town of Donggang, celestial lord Wang Ye was called on to protect the museum.

The new museum, where a life-size King Boat will be displayed, will allow visitors to appreciate the exquisite craftsmanship of the shipbuilders when it opens in 2024, said Pingtung County magistrate Pan Men-an (???) at the ceremony.

The triennial Donggang King Boat Ceremony features a King Boat built for Wang Ye and paraded around town to expel and prevent the spread of plagues, according to a Ministry of Interior website on Taiwan's religious events.

The event in Donggang, which is the largest King Boat event in Taiwan and was last held in October this year, dates back about 300 years.

The King Boats are adorned with detailed paintings of dragons and phoenixes, weaving in historical stories and figures from Chinese mythology.

At the end of the event that usually lasts for a week, the King Boat is taken to a local beach at midnight and set on fire to symbolize the "casting out" of plagues and Wang Ye returning to heaven.

The architectural design concept of the museum centers on the theme of a ship on the "sea," with the opening at the top symbolizing a dragon's eye on a boat and the wavy lines at the bottom of the building symbolizing the waves, according to the statement.

The new museum will have an immersive theater to introduce the King Boat culture to visitors through new technology, a 240-seat multifunctional audio-visual room, a library, and classrooms, according to the Pingtung County Cultural Affairs Department.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel