*** History of the Temple ***
Donglong Temple was established more than three centuries ago, in 1665, by early settlers who had crossed the straits from China. To assure their safety during the dangerous voyage, they had brought with them the Wangye named Li; after their arrival, they expressed their appreciation for his protection by building a rustic temple (originally named Cih-an Temple) for his worship. Accompanying him in the temple they placed other Wangyes-Wun, Wu, and Chih-along with the Lord Protector of Life. Following a fire the temple was rebuilt and expanded in 1945; it was then renamed Donglong Temple in appreciation of the Wangyes from the original temple of that name in Donggang, who were believed to have facilitated the restoration work. It has been renovated twice again since that time.
*** The Temple's Permanent Wangye Boats ***
A unique feature of the expressions of Wangye faith at Donglong Temple is that two boats-one of wood and one of bronze-are on permanent display in the temple, along with another huge one in a boat pavilion in front of the temple. Temple officials say that the old wooden boat, which is placed on the left inside the temple entrance, is an exact copy of the bronze boat. The old bronze boat is the only Quanzhou-type boat in Taiwan, and the exquisitely fashioned lifelike figures of sailors and horses in its hold exhibit high value as examples of folk art.
On your visit to Donglong Temple, don't forget to have a look at the huge boat in the pavilion in front of the temple plaza. In times past, the burning of a Wangye boat carried the meaning of sending plague and pestilence away. In 2002, before a boat was to be burned, temple officials cast oracle blocks to ask permission from the gods and were told by the deities not to burn the boat; so it was kept here, where it remains for visitors to observe.
*** Architecture and Workmanship of Donglong Temple ***
The temple is a traditional southern Fujian-style structure with swallowtail eaves, five entrances, and two halls. The wood building was meticulously designed by Master Wang Jin-mu, a national treasure-class craftsman. The wood tenon supportive structures present a stunning aspect of elegant solemnity. The door gods were painted by Pan Li-shuei, another master of national treasure class. Other craftsmen of similar attainment, including Master Li Han-cing, created other architectural elements. This is, in fact, a classic temple that exhibits the creativity of the finest craftsmen in Taiwan at the time. The wood and stone materials are all from Taiwan, helping to make the temple the perfect place to study traditional Taiwanese architectural arts.
- No.95 , Sanliaowan, Sanguang Village, Beimen Dist., Tainan City Taiwán, R.O.C
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