Xmas 2004  


The Card


These lions are potent symbols in Kinmen (金門) an island that is part of Taiwan but lying 2km from the Chinese mainland coast, close to the city of Xiamen.

Residents believe the lions can stop the wind and block the forces of evil from sweeping over their land. They are regarded as the protective gods of the villages.

There was once a time when Kinmen residents suffered terribly from gale-force winds and seemingly constant natural disasters, not to mention the indistinct threats posed by ghosts and monsters of legend. People began carving the protective lions out of stone and putting them on sentry on their roofs to scare or devour menacing forces with their wide, open mouths.

These days, similar stone wind lions usually stand on guard by the entrance of each village on Kinmen, facing northeast. Some wind lions hold money or bells in their claws, while others hold flags. Some are painted vibrant colors or wear capes that flap in the blustery weather. Their round, glaring eyes and fierce teeth seem to swallow the strong local winds and force otherworldly creatures to think twice about strolling into town.

Do they celebrate Christmas? Probably not, they likely wait for Chinese New Year to relax.

The Chinese text at the bottom of the card says "Shen dan kuai le", Merry Christmas!


Background information from: Taiwan Government Information Office