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The Daoist priest Wang Ming-hsien perform the ritual of “excavating the waterways (開水路)” for Dai-Tien Yuan’s Royal Boat in Liu Ying, Tainan (Photo by Huang Wen-po)

A Special Event Accompanying the “Patrols of Royal Lords” Exhibition organized by Cyber Islands

An eye-opening ceremony for a newly built Royal Boat will be held in Academia Sinica. Everyone interested in the folk beliefs in Taiwan is invited to unveil the mystery of Royal Boats on 3pm, April 18, 2014. The event will take place in front of the Earth God Temple, located to the north of the Building for Humanities and Social Sciences. The ceremony is a satellite event of the “Patrols of Royal Lords” exhibition organized by Cyber Island, an online photography platform run by Academia Sinica Digital Center. Works of photographers recording the culture of the folk beliefs in Royal Lords (Wangye) for years are featured in the exhibition.


Royal boats, believed to be the vehicle of the Royal Lords, are commonly seen along the south-western coast of Taiwan during the plague offering. It is believed that the plague and pestilence will be expelled through the ritual of welcoming and sending the boats. The ritual is commonly joined by all the local residents, and the craft of making the boats and other items used for the rituals are inherited from an ancient tradition. The royal boat used in this eye-opening ceremony in Academia Sinica is made by Mr. Wang Ming-hsien, a Daoist priest and a craftsman of intangible cultural heritage registered by Tainan Municipal Administration of Cultural Heritage. He will also preside over the whole ceremony. It will be a rare opportunity to get close to the rituals of plague offering.


The ritual and taboos related to the plague offering are complicate and rarely known to the general public. During the Royal Lord’s stay, his mansion-office are even concealed to the outside world. Therefore, the “Patrols of Royal Lords” exhibition is held to introduce this unique folk belief by showing photographs taken by long-time recorders of the culture: Wang Shu-man (王素滿), Chen Ding-lin (陳丁林), Huang Wen-po (黃文博), Yang Ching-huang (楊錦煌). Their works covers the whole process of the ceremony in detail and in depth, including building the boats, welcoming the Royal Lords, performing the rituals, patrolling around the area, and finally sending the Royal Lords. The photographs will guide visitors through the process and its uniqueness of the plague expulsion ceremony.


The organizer of the special event and exhibition is Cyber Island, an online photography platform which collects images of Taiwan from the public and aims to archive memories of the public. The 4 photographers participating in the physical exhibition contribute more images in the “photographers in focus” section of the Cyber Island for those who are interested in exploring more. We even hope you can join us on the Cyber Island: catching the moments Taiwan through your unique and personal vision, sharing stories of every corner around the island, and letting everyone see the beauty of the Formosa in the digital world.


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“Patrols of Royal Lords” Exhibition Info

Free of Charge

Date: 2014/02/17-2014/07/25 

Hours: 9:00-17:00, Opens everyday except Sunday

Place: Exhibition Center of Digital Culture, 2F, Building for Humanities and Social Sciences, Academia Sinica (128, Academia Road, Section 2, Nankang, Taipei)

Organizer: Academia Sinica Digital Center  

For guided tour, please contact: Ms. Betty Lin, +886-2-26525277 |

For further information, please visit:


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