Chinese devotees of Ganesh[a]?

I was walking on a little street off of Jinmen Jie in Taipei, and a jewelry store instantly caught my eye. The place was sporting a very large, gilded statue of Ganesh[a], the elaphant-headed Hindu deity who helps people through hard times. It was situated just like a normal Chinese shrine, complete with incense and food offerings. I went in and asked, and the boss told me she was a big fan of this deity, whom she called “Ma Ni Xiang”, or something like that.

I’ve read about a secret sect of Ganesh devotees in Japan, where they called him “Kenguri-ten”, or something like that, and believed him to have something to do with fertility. Apparently this sect and its rites were very secretive, and no one ever got to glimpse the actual statue, which was shouded and dipped in oil for one of their ceremonies (weird, huh?!)

Anyway, I have NEVER heard of any Chinese who worship Ganesh, but it wouldn’t surprise me if there were. Does anyone know anything about this? If this jeweller is not just an eccentric, but one of many, where could I find out more about Chinese Ganesha devotees? Are they a very secretive community like the ones in Japan?

I haven’t found anything on the 'net, but it’s Buddhist, isn’t it?

There do exist some Taiwanese / Chinese followers of Hindu-based religions, usually based on a guru. Many of these venerate the Indian gods. Ganesha is seen occasionally in Tibetan Buddhist iconography. There are many Taiwanese / Chinese followers of this form of Buddhism, though I doubt that this is what is driving sales of Ganesh jewelry. It’s probably received as just something cute and exotic.

From what I’ve read on the 'net, Ganesh is popular in Hinduism and Buddhism. It doesn’t seem like too much of a stretch for Buddhists here to have some connection Ganesh.

I spotted another shop with a Ganesh statue–this one a handicraft shop near Tai Da. I asked the laoban about it. He said the practice came from India, and he set it up in order to have good business.

Chinese people in general a receptive to supersitions about money. They’ll stick in a Japanese porclien cat, Jade frogs, gold buddahs, Paper pineapples in their place of business.

If they are a secret society on Taiwan that worship Ganesh I’ve never heard of them, so they are doing a good job.

But I would just ask around to see if there are any practicing hindus in Taiwan. I’m sure they would know.