Main Hall contains the major worshipping area in a temple. The main hall of Guandu Temple is composed of Mazu Hall at the center, Guanyin Bodhisattva Hall at the left (dragon screen), and Lord Wenchang Hall at the right (tiger screen). The altar of Mazu and the effigies are placed at the center of the whole hall. The wood sculptures in the lintels and pillars of the altar, bracket and carved angle brace, ceiling caissons, and railings are exquisitely and beautifully carved. Like those in Sanchuan Hall, these works are representative works of wood sculpture in Guandu Temple. The wood sculpture in Guanyin Bodhisattva Hall and Lord Wenchang Hall mostly focus on altars.
The renovation of the main hall is one of the major renovations after World War II. Because the construction at that time was directed by Huang Gui-Li, disciple of the master Chen Ying-Bin, storing in Main Hall and Sanchuan Hall in Guandu Temple, these works are important cultural assets created by national artists.
The altars in Guandu Temple can be regarded as miniatures of traditional architecture and art of sculpture. The art and craftsmanship of carpentry and carving of the altars fully display the utmost aesthetics of the art of traditional wood sculpture. The altar of Mazu at the center was created by Huang Gui-Li in 1956. It imitates the architecture and construction of a palace, with the roof similar to the multiple-eave roof in a wooden architecture. Over the roof is an exquisite paifang carved with the pattern of ‘phoenix and peony’. Gods of Bliss(Fu), Prosperity (Lu) and Longevity (Shou) over the paifang are standing at the top of the altar, conferring blessings to the world. Underneath the eaves are three layers of bracket structures, carved with the pattern of elephants, which symbolizes good fortune. Finally, a row of flower baskets and hanging barrels is used as decoration for the closure of the eaves. There are a pair of dragon pillars and a pair of flower and bird pillars in the altar while the room is decorated with flower designs in patterns of dragons.
The wood sculptures on the screen are carved through openwork carving techniques. The translucency of the openwork carving strengthens the visual effects of the patterns through light and shadow and lightens up the altar. The screen beneath the altar is relief because the sculptors take the structure and safety of the works into consideration, and they would like to make the altar look steadier. The foot of the altar is carved with the pattern of a beast’s head swallowing its feet. To sum up, the upper part of the altar looks light whereas the lower part is steady. With the paint and golden cover, it looks magnificent and solemn. This is a top-notch work of the art of an altar.