Tuesday, November 23, 2010
Tin How Temple (joss house)
Tin How Temple is "the oldest Taoist temple in the United States.... It was built in 1852 and is dedicated to Mazu." Not surprisingly, it is located in San Francisco.
Mazu "is the indigenous goddess of the sea who is said to protect fishermen and sailors, and is invoked as the patron saint of all Southern Chinese and East Asian persons. Worship of Mazu began around the Ming Dynasty, when many temples dedicated to her were erected all across Mainland China, later spreading to other countries with Southern Chinese inhabitants".
The temple is also referred to as "Joss House". Per the wiki, "'Joss' is a corrupted version of the Portuguese word for 'god', deus. 'Joss house' was in common use in English in western North America during frontier times, when joss houses were a common feature of Chinatowns. The name 'joss house' describes the environment of worship. Joss sticks, a kind of incense, are burned inside and outside of the house." I have no idea if "Joss House" is a derogatory term, or an accepted alternative for "temple".
While this postcard was received this year (probably sent by the Mystery Sender, although it is not signed "peace" on the back), it is a linen postcard. From the wiki, "The "linen card" era lasted from about 1931 to the early 1950s, when cards were primarily printed on papers with a textured surface similar to linen cloth."