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Welcome to the Teo Chew Temple 

Inside our temple, as well as outside, nestled amongst the hustle and bustle of Chinatown, you'll find a spectacular collection of sculptures dedicated to 14 Chinese Buddhist Gods. The over-reaching design of our collection was grounded around a key goal - to create an environment set amid a location that inspired the sense to ascend and rise above the fray of everyday life. 

As you walk through the temple, scroll with us as we discover the exciting stories and history behind each sculpture.


We hope you enjoy your visit.

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Interactive Temple Map

Follow along with our interactive map. Simply click on the statue number below to read more about the God and what worshippers pray to them for.


When praying with incense, please use the numbered guide for order of prayer importance.

Emperor of the North

Queen of Heaven

God of Earth & Prosperity 

Merciful Mother of Great Compassion

God of War

The Monkey King

The Living Magical Beggar Buddha of Enlightenment

Tai Sui

Martial God of Weath

The Jade Emperor

Goddess of Fertility 

Queen Mother of Shuntian

Noble King who Delivers Abundant Blessings

Scholarly God of Wealth


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The Jade Emperor




The Jade Emperor is the Son of the Heaven and rules there by the authority vested in him. He presides over the coucils of Heaven. On the last day of the year, all the other Gods come to his court to hand over their accounts. They are rewarded or punished accordingly. The Jade aspect of his name is an attribute to his being, since jade is a precious stone and symbolizes all that is excellent and virtually perfect.

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God of Earth and Prosperity 



God of Earth and Prosperity is also known as Ong Bon. According to some scholars, he was previously known as Trinh Hoa, a talented traveler, diplomat, explorer and linguist, he was asked by the King of China in 1400’s to lead their people to Southeast Asia and familiarize themselves with neighboring countries. After he died, the King ordained him Bổn Đầu Công, later known as the God protecting soil, ground and people. Many followers put paper/ghost money in the furnace of the pagoda as an offering. This ritual serves to bring financial blessings and security to individuals and their families. He is our God that watches over our local area, such as our temple and Houston as a whole.

Queen of Heaven 




Queen of Heaven, also known as Tin Hau, was born on the island of Mei-Chou in Fukien province between 900-1000 A.D. She was a devout follower of Quan Yin. By age 28, she had perfected her supernatural powers to help those in trouble at sea. As a result, she became Goddess of Seafarers. Her canonization was rapid. Between 1155 and 1278, Tin Hau rose from Princess to Queen of Heaven, subordinate only to the Jade Emperor. 

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6 Kuan Yin.PNG

Merciful Mother of Great Compassion 




Merciful Mother of Great Compassion, also known as Kuan Yin. As the Hearer of Cries, she is popular with worshippers for rescuing people from dire hardships and miseries. Her purity is such that she is often compared to the Virgin Mary. Originally from India, from the first until the seventh century, Kuan Yin was male. Between seventh and twelfth entries, a sex change occurred and he became female. There is much symbolism associated with Kuan Yin. The halo is enlightenment; the lotus is purity; the willow branch is beauty; the vase is harmony; the bird is good fortune and the pearl is perfection.

God of War 

God of War, also known as Kuan Ti,  is one of the greatest and most powerful gods in the pantheon. Prior to his deification, he was a mighty warrior who lived from 162 to 220 A.D. Over centuries, he moved up the ladder. In 1594, he was named “The Great Emperor who protects the state” and was responsible for guarding the frontiers. He is easily identifiable by his red face. He is the patron god of military, restaurant, pawnshops as well as the Chinese Triads and the Hong Kong Police Department.

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4 Zhu Seng.PNG

Goddess of Fertility 




Goddess of Fertility, commonly known as Zhu Sheng Ma, is in charge of a women’s pregnancy and childbirth. Most statues of Zhu Sheng Ma depict her holding a book in her left hand and a pen in her right. This symbolizes Zhu Sheng recording the family tree of every family and their children.

Queen Mother of Shuntian 

Queen Mother of Shuntian is widely considered the patron saint of women and children (similar to Zhushen Ma, depicted in the adjacent statue). She was virtuous to the people during her lifetime and was regarded as a god after her death. According to folklore, she went to study under the emperor of Lushan, where she mastered multiple arts including subduing white snakes and catching ghosts. When she was 24, Lady Linshui was pregnant, prayed for rain for the people, and died for the people. Since then, she is regarded as a goddess who protects the fetus and the people.

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2 Guang Ze Zun Wang.PNG

Noble King who Delivers Abundant Blessings 



Noble King who Delivers Abundant Blessings is most widely recognized by his unique stance - crossing his right leg and dropping his left. He was born into a poor family in the year 923 AD and was originally given the name Zhong Fu. He worked as a shepherd and was only seven years old when his father passed away. Even with such hardships, he worked hard without complaints and slowly got the attention from the villagers for his hard work. Through his landlord, he met an old Feng Shui Master, whom he befriended. The Feng Shui Master taught Zhong Fu reading, writing and science, which Zhong Fu passed along to anyone who was interested in learning. The less fortunate who could not afford to send their children to school were very grateful to him. Over time, he became known as a person who was always eager to help. Today, worshippers come to him in times of need and distress in hopes that he will come to their aid.

Scholarly God of Wealth 

Scholarly God of Wealth oversees the acquisition of money. Worshippers who seek fortune visit him. Oftentimes, followers asking about finance will be seen shaking a bamboo cup containing long bamboo sticks with numbers on them. When a bamboo stick falls to the floor, the worshipper will find the wall of slips of paper with the corresponding god, matching the number, which contains the fortune.

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Emperor of the North 




Emperor of the North, also known as Pak Tai, lived in a palace on the North Star, thus associating him with Shang Ti himself. It is likely that he was also a real person born about 2,000 B.C. and was responsible for developing early flood control and drainage systems in China. He oversees the military protection of the state, the realm of the dead and fertility. When chaos reigns in the world, Pak Tai is believed to descend from heaven and restore peace and order. His raised index finger is a symbolic gesture meaning the suppression of darkness.

The Monkey King




The Monkey King, also known as Sun Wukong,  is often prayed to for solutions to what appear to be insoluble problems, and in exorcizing evil. He is believed to have been a monkey born from stone who acquires supernatural powers through Taoist practices. He is known for rebelling against heaven, and later being imprisoned under a mountain by the Buddha. After 500 years, he accompanies the monk, Tripitaka, with two other disciples to get back the Buddhist scriptures which would allow the people of China to attain enlightenment. At the end of the journey, they were blessed with Bodhisattvahood. The monkey king was a skillful warrior and possessed many abilities - great strength to support the weight of two heaven mountains on his shoulder while running, extreme speed, memory and the ability to transform into animals and other objects. His hair also has magical properties, and can create copies of himself or various weapons. He represents resistance, longing for freedom and individualistic heroism.

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The Living Magical Beggar Buddha of Enlightenment 




The Living Magical Beggar Buddha of Enlightenment, also known as Ly Tu Duyen, his birth name. After leaving home to practice and attain enlightenment, he was also known as Zen Master Dao Te. The monk is famous for his actions contrary to Buddhist rules such as eating meat and drinking alcohol. He would often wear torn monk clothes, a hat embroidered with the word Buddha, would hold a bottle of wine in his right hand,  and a torn bamboo fan in his left hand. Hence also being given a nickname, Te Dien. Other than being known for his unusual actions, he was also widely known for being very kind, embodied the Bodhisattva's life-saving spirit as he displayed miraculous powers to help the sick, and he fought against injustices in society. After his death, he became a legend in folklore and was deemed a deity.

Tai Sui




Tai Sui is regarded as the most honorable person, or king among the gods. Tai Sui is not a fierce god, but a patron saint. The earliest records regarding Tai Sui as a god can be found during the Han Dynasty where “Tai Sui, the god of time, uses punishment to cause harm, and the movement and stillness are different, which is not the way of heaven following the divine will of time.” It is believed that every year, 4 zodiac signs are in direct offense of Tai Sui, and much misfortune will bequeath to those who are born with those signs. However, as long as one “sits” on Tai Sui (that is, your back is facing Tai Sui), the wrath of Tai Sui will be mitigated. For this reason, it is important for those who’s zodiac signs clash with Tai Sui to pray to Tai Sui at the beginning of the year as well as making offerings and wearing special talismans to appease Tai Sui.

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Martial God of Wealth




Martial God of Wealth, also known as Zhao Gongming or Zhao Xuantian. Originally, Zhao Gongming was ordered to be God of Plague where he was to supervise ghosts, go to the mortal world and take human lives. While there, he begins to promote goodness, eliminating diseases like malaria and cutting disasters, thereby becoming God of Goodness. As he rose in rank, he oversaw four other assistants, who managed fortune. During this time, the commodity economy and citizen census grew. After this, Zhao became the God of Wealth. He is often seen with a thick beard, wearing armor and an iron crown, carrying an iron whip and an ingot and riding a tiger.  

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