Sunday, June 9, 2013

The Joss House

(I won't tell you readers where I am tonight because one of you (perhaps one of my sassy sisters, or a mischievous friend) might turn me in just for the fun of it.  I will admit, however, that I am somewhere in the Northwest, in a State Park campground--AND I SET THE PICNIC TABLE ON FIRE!  You see, I have this cheap little hibachi style cookstove and today I bought a nice salmon steak for grilling.  I set the cookstove up on the picnic table and filled the stove with charcoal.  I had a nice fire going and that salmon was really cooking nicely when I noticed this liquid starting to run all over the table top. I got a little closer to see if I could figure what it was and where it was coming from when suddenly,  IT IGNITED!  Boy was it a nice flame too.  I quick grabbed a gallon water jug I had just bought that day and emptied the whole thing on the table.  The water put the fire out-- and the salmon didn't taste too bad--just a bit damp. Who knew that these fake wood tables would melt? The table top doesn't look all that bad though--kind of antiqued. )

Now--back to travels with Jo....

We left the coast and started east on Hwy 299.  Midway to Redding we stopped at this interesting place in the little town of Weaverville.

  This Joss House was built in 1874 by Chinese miners who came to Trinity County in search of gold.

A Joss House is like a temple where the miners would go and make deals with the deities or ancestral gods that were represented there. "Help me find gold today and I will leave a big nugget for you in the temple tomorrow." 

A caretaker slept in this little room on the side of the temple (that's the woodburning heat stove) and he took care of any nuggets that might have appeared in the temple.

The Chinese were welcomed when they first arrived in San Francisco.  Capitalists heralded them as a hardworking, cheap, and willing labor force; but as they appeared in the gold fields they were vigorously attacked by popular tribunals and mob violence.  With the cry of "California for the Americans", white miners of all nationalities drove out their Mexican, French, and Chilean competitors in the early 1850s. Their anti-foreign sentiments then turned against the Chinese.
The California legislature listened to the American miners.  Its members campaigned for 25 years against the Chinese, imposing heavy taxes and denying them rights to citizenship.
(Not much has changed in 160 years)

The inside of the Joss House was very ornate but also very dark.  I was asked not to use the flash on my camera so these pictures are not very good but I hope you get the idea.

There is no place to sit in this temple.  Nothing like church services were held here.  One was supposed to go in, talk to a particular deity, make a deal or deposit a gift, then leave.  I like that there was no middleman like a priest or clergyman--just go straight to the source and make a deal.

The front door sat a foot higher than the ground level to confuse the evil spirits.  This door also did not open--you had to walk around it on either side to get in--another way to confuse the evil spirits.
Anyway, it was a fun stop.

Highway 299 was turning out to be spectacular as it followed the Trinity River .

And evidence of rock slides were everywhere.

(I've been thinking about that burning table and I'm not too sure that 'fake wood' planks are smart to use in very wooded parks where other picnickers might also decide to put a hibachi on top.  Holy Moley!  I could have burned the whole forest down!)


  1. I can picture you trying to put that fire out and hoping no one sees what you have done. LOL Jerry started the tailgate of a pickup on fire with a oil lantern one time, not sure you two should camp together. (burning oil on metal takes the paint right off)

  2. Toni,
    I once set my long hair on fire while working as a bartender, in front of an audience of several dozen. Such fun. I'm glad you weren't hurt.
    On another subject: they make very light tripods these days that fold up into almost nothing. That might be the thing for those places where you don't want to (can't) use your flash.
    We'll think of you at the Skeptics meeting tonight.

  3. Hair? Tailgates? Picnic Tables? What next?

  4. I've heard of Cedar Plank salmon.....even salmon melt.....but no picnic table melt plank salmon....