Master Du Zhen Hao. Hairdresser and self-taught artist who preserves the local folk art of Keelung’s floating lanters. During Ghost Month, his, and other artwork will be set on fire at Keelung bay and released to the sea to worship the ancestors who lost their lifes offshore. Taiwan’s youngest artist to craft such lanterns shoulders great responsibility. Not only has he committed himself to preserve Keelung’s folk art of ‘floating lanterns’, but he also needs to ensure, that his clan, the spectators, and the eventually the ghosts are pleased.
Every seventh month of the lunar calendar the gates to the underworld are thrown open, so the ghosts can spend some holidays amongst the living. Although hundreds of millions of East Asians are participating in the Ghost Month to maintain the balance of Yin and Yang, it’s the small island of Taiwan that is said to have cultivated the most sophisticated cultural agenda in the Far East. Taiwanese families and companies alike orchestrate lavish banquets while possessed mediums communicate between the dead and the living. During special occasions like Ghost Month the Taiwanese cremate spiritual currency and meaningful paper replicas which they believe become real in their ancestors’ afterlife. Today, the ancient tradition has turned into a lucrative business. Parallel with the society’s thirst for modern knickknack, the spirits too will receive anything from phones to sports cars, and from sophisticated villas to custom-made gifts.