This is a photo of an altar with Chinese folk religion deities. I took this photo during a day excursion to a cultural and heritage center outside of Taipei in 2009. One of the remarkable aspects of visiting Taiwan is to see the religious tolerance of the society. There are churches and temples of many faiths spread throughout the country, perhaps one of the hallmarks of democracy on the island.
The Chinese folk religion or Chinese traditional religion[note 1] (traditional Chinese: 中國民間宗教 or 中國民間信仰; simplified Chinese: 中国民间宗教 or 中国民间信仰; pinyin: Zhōngguó mínjiān zōngjiào or Zhōngguó mínjiān xìnyăng), sometimes called Shenism (pinyin: Shénjiào, 神教), is the collection of grassroots ethnic religious traditions of the Han Chinese, or the indigenous religion of China. Chinese folk religion primarily consists in the worship of the shen (神 “gods”, “spirits”, “awarenesses”, “consciousnesses”, “archetypes”; literally “expressions”, the energies that generate things and make them thrive) which can be nature deities, city deities or tutelary deities of other human agglomerations, national deities, cultural heroes and demigods, ancestors and progenitors, deities of the kinship. Holy narratives regarding some of these gods are codified into the body of Chinese mythology. Another name of this complex of religions is Chinese Universism,especially referring to its intrinsic metaphysical perspective.