Looking far from Xiquan Ancestral Temple
The gate of Xiquan Ancestral Temple
Reported by Deng Changlu and Liao Shuanghe (http://www.xnnews.com.cn)
With the development of Yingshui Cave and its growing fame, Xiquan Village of Dafan Town Tongshan country which has become rich for the leading effect of Yingshuidong Geopark is setting about developing the tourism of the village, and is going to create a tourism village. At present, the people of this village are developing the ancient dwelling house-- Xiquan Ancestral Temple.
Recently, the reporter has visited the ancient buildings which are famous in Tongshan Country. Xiquan Ancestral Temple is located in the west of Yingshui Cave, about 700 meters away. According to the historical record, Xiquan Ancestral Temple was first been built in 16 Jiaqing Years (1811) in Qing dynasty. After that, it suffered fire twice and then was reconstructed. The main buiding together with the subsidiary covered an area of over 5000 square meters.
Approaching the ancestral temple, you can immediately feel its exquisite and primitive simplicity. The front of the ancestral temple is the gate, and there are gateways on two sides. And in the middle lies the screen board of the gate, in front of which there is a drum-supported stone with statues and Kylins carved on it. There are four pillars beside the stone with which pillars connect and support. Over the gate, there is an arched shed, and a tablet carved with powerful words “Xiquan descent” hung on it. At the ends of the arched shed, there are buttress soaring and pictures in the steps which extend outside of the wall and the lifelike lions creeping on it. Beside the left gate, there is a stone tablet used to prohibit gambling and guard against theft. There is a bluestone on the pool meaning “a bright mirror was used to drive evil and avoid evil spirits.” And 6 green and lush cypresses grow on the bank twisting and flexional. Some catalpas grow among them meaning “generation after generation”.
Stepping into the ancestral temple, what strikes your eyes is the stage which is as tall as a man and supported by four pillars. Behind the stage is the makeup compartment. In front of the stage lies the patio. And there are three lotuses in it and you can enjoy the lotus in the morning. Beside the patio, it is the yard, and the memorial arch used as the place for the gentlewoman and maid to enjoy the drama. The middle hall follows the patio, and there are 6 soaring pillars. Overt the pillars, there are arched shed with four imposing beams. Going through the wall, you can go to the patio. The patios and the ancestral rooms stay closely with each other. The shrine with many bodhisattvas is in the ancestral room.
Xiquan Ancestral Temple was built after careful thinking. There is a folk song about it like this: Xiquanfan is a good place; two strong tigers fight for meats; three lotuses, loongs and phoenix stop on the walls.
According to villager Wu Shihu, Xiquan Ancestral Temple is a place for the Wus to offer sacrifices, play drama, prohibit gambling, perform wedding or funeral ceremony. And it is famous for a person whose name is Wu Huaiqing.
Wu Huaiqing (1860-1928) or Wu Shenchu or Wu Mocunzi, was in a low position when he was young, but he had a tenacious character and very clever. He studied hard and could recite an article even only after a look. The article A Discuss Between Jia Yi and Dong Zhongshu made him famous at once. When compiling the historical data Scholars’ Rrecords, he was promoted as the fourth-level officer. And he once was awarded as the second-level officer when he was the president of the students affairs department of Shanxi Province. Due to his great contribution to revising the Chronicle of Dezong, he was awarded a first-level crown. It was once said that when Wu Huaiqing arrive in Tongshan Country, the county magistrate welcomed him alongside with the officers by kneeling all along, and when Wu Huaiqing was leaving Tongshan Country, they also kept kneeling until Wu disappeared in their visual field.
He ever worked as Dao officer, proctor of metropolitan examination, chief examiner of Shandong Province, salt transporting officer, president of the students affairs department of Shanxi Province and supervisor of the provincial Teachers College, the secretary of Imperial Academy and the representative of the Advisory Council, and Guanglu Dafu.
Wu Huaiqing thought fondly of his hometown and fellow villagers very much. Regardless of the long distance, he once came to Xiquan and wrote many plaques and poems which conveyed his feeling of homesickness and love which we can feel in his words. During his time in Xiquan, many friends and relatives celebrated him, and his tablet was hung in the ancestral temple.
For over 100 years vicissitudes and ransacks due to political movement, many tablets have been destroyed or lost. These tablets carved with long boards are powerful and imposing. Some of the tablets are as long as 6 or 7 meters. And some tablets are still seen in the ancestral temple, such as the couplets on two stage pillars: The instruments strike note concordantly, and they are not just for entertaining the villagers. The friends write songs frequently, and they can be used for treating the guests. And the couplets in the middle hall: The ancestors should be remembered for the land and the houses built with arbors since Yuan and Ming dynasties;Many social pillars were born in the house many years ago and still until now.
It is said that Wu Huaiqing read widely, and was knowledgeable. He devoted himself to the political, cultural and historical affairs. He not only made great contribution to the compiling of the history of the Qing Dynasty but also wrote many masterpieces of poems, of which Jiejiao Selection, containing over 100 poems, survives. This shows that Xiquan Ancestral Temple is an ancient building with great cultural connotation.
What is regretful is that this ancient building is nearly ruined such as the beams corroding heavily. And the couplet carved in the plaque is blurry. The leader of the fifth group of the village Wu Yihui said that they have raised 200,000 Yuan for the preliminary renovation of the ancestral temple and then they will turn to the government for help. The reporter has observed that some carpenters are repairing the wood gate of the ancestral temple.
“We will attract visitors to Xiquan Ancient Dwellings after their visiting Yingshui Cave.” Wu said, “Then, the local people in Xiquan Village will live a better life.”