Past Events

Toa Peh Kong and Pun Thao Kong: Variations of Chinese Guardian Spirits of Locality in Southeast Asia

Penang Institute is proud to host “Toa Peh Kong and Pun Thao Kong: Variations of Chinese Guardian Spirits of Locality in Southeast Asia” which is scheduled as follows:

Date: 19 February 2019, Tuesday
Time: 6:30pm – 7:30pm (registration starts at 6pm)
Venue: Conference Hall, Penang Institute

It has long been argued that there are two types of worship of Chinese guardian spirits of locality in Southeast Asia. One (type A) is Toa Peh Kong (Dabogong大伯公) worship extending from the former Straits Settlements and beyond, and the other (type B) is Pun Thao Kong (Bentougong本頭公) worship centred in Bangkok and adjacent areas. A typical feature of type A is that Toa Peh Kong is regarded as a vernacular name for Hok Tek Cheng Sin (Fude Zhengshen福徳正神). For this reason Toa Peh Kong in many cases is represented by images of Hok Tek, and referred to as Hok Tek in written form, including on pairs of hanging scrolls (對聯). Pun Thao Kong worship has original images distinct from that used in conventional Hok Tek worship, and the name Pun Thao Kong is used in hanging scrolls and inscriptions. Both Hok Tek and Toa Peh Kong are imagined as distinct lesser deities enshrined separately to protect respective temple compounds.

Then where does worship of Type A (or B) end to be replaced by another type of worship? What kind of worship do we find in the transitional zone between the two types? The talk focuses mainly on Chinese temples in central and southern Thailand and compares these findings with cases in Malaysia and Myanmar.

About the Speaker:
Tatsuki Kataoka (Ph. D., Kyushu University) is Professor of the Graduate School of Asian and African Area Studies, Kyoto University, Japan. He currently teaches Southeast Asian Studies and Southeast Asian religions to graduate students of Kyoto University, and cultural anthropology and Asian cultures at other universities as a part-time lecturer. Majoring in cultural anthropology and Southeast Asian studies, the speaker works on religious activities in Chinese temples and philanthropic associations in Thailand, Myanmar and Malaysia as well as religious movements among highlanders in Thailand, and rituals and deities of Shinto Shrines in rural Japan. The speaker has published journal articles on Chinese temples in Thailand in Japanese and English; such as “Religion as Non-religion: The Place of Chinese Temples in Phuket, Southern Thailand” (Southeast Asian Studies vol.1, no.3, 2012).