Friday, 12 December 2014

Taoyuan City - Hutoushan park - Sansheng Temple (三聖宮)

There are three important temples in the Hutoushan Park, or close to it. They are Sansheng Temple (明倫三聖宮), Confucius Temple and Former Shinto temple that serves now as Taoyuan Martyr's Shrine (桃園忠烈祠). This article will tell about Sansheng Temple. In fact the two others are more interesting, but we will come back to them later.

The Sansheng temple is dedicated for three historical heroes from the period of The Three Kingdoms (AD 220–280). It was a period of disunity after Han dynasty (206 BC – 220 AD) fell apart.

The legend tells that those heroes, Liu Bei, Guan Yu and Zhang Fei made a blood pact in Peach Garden (apparently Taoyuan City get its name from that garden, since Taoyuan means literally "peach garden"). Liu Bei is known as an ideal benevolent and humane ruler. Guan Yu (also known as Guan Gong (Lord Guan)) and Zhang Fei were generals serving in Liu Bei's army. Especially Guan Yu is worshipped as god in Southern China, Taiwan, Hong Kong and overseas Chinese communities.

At the halfway point of the mountain, there is the "Taoxin Pavilion" to mark the friendship of Liu Bei, Guan Yu, and Zhang Fei in the Chinese classic book "The Romance of the Three Kingdoms."

Down by the temple, there is the usual market. that extends few hundred meters further down from the temple.
Above the market, Guan Yu is riding his horse in front of the temple, facing block of flats by the Nankan river. Traditionally, he is portrayed as a red-faced warrior with a long lush beard. His is carrying a legendary Guandao weapon, a Chinese pole weapon with big metal blade. Just like with all legendary heroes, his weapon had a name: Green Dragon Crescent Blade (qīng lóng yǎn yuè dāo). Supposedly Guan Yu's Guandao weighed almost 20 kilos, so he must have been very strong man.

Between the market and Guan Yu there is a traditional dragon fountain. I ignore it's full meaning, but it is associated with power, majesty and good fortune.

This is the interior of the temple, second floor. In the ground floor there are statues of the three heroes, that are worshipped as gods. I don't want to reproduce their photos here since there is only one God, and he is none of th0ese warlords.

This is another statue of Guan Yu, apparently built provisionally to serve during some festival. Since I was there last time, they have built a new 13 meter high statue of Guan Yu at the entrance of the Hutoushan park, with the cost of 250 000 euros (10 million Taiwan new dollars)! Apparently it was part of the electoral campaign of a local politician, It didn't pay off, since the DPP win big in Taoyuan and the Kuomintang mayor had to go.

The temple is a favourite venue for many kind of religious and cultural events. The two videos that follow were taken during one of those festivals, in August 2014.


More articles to come.....

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