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Three 100-year-old Temples in Changhua Burnt Down in Ten Years

  At 5:30 am, September 24, 2016, a big fire burnt down the 194-year-old county level historic sitesLukang Fengshan Temple, and many precious cultural relics from Qing Xianfeng Period have been destroyed, including the delicate “Po-koo-too” and “dragon and tiger wall engraving” on both sides of Sanchuan Hall of Fengshan Temple created by Koji Pottery in 6th year of Qing Xianfeng for Mr. Cai Tengying of Jinjiang Yijing Hall of Quanzhou city. These are the earliest works of Koji Pottery preserved in Taiwan. This was not the first time that a fire accident had happened to historical sites. In fact, a total of three 100-year-old historical sites in in Changhua have already been burnt down within ten years.


 

Temple Name

Rating of Site

Completion Time

Time of Accident

Cause of Accident

Losses

1

Changhua Yuan Ching Kuan

National historic sites

1763

2006.4.9

Accidental discharge of the electric wire of bright lamp (for worship)

Plaquettes, curls and dragon columns from Qing Dynasty and of historical value destroyed by fire

2

Shengang Fuan Temple

 

1677

2015.5.16

Inflammables (papers for sacrifice offering)  ignited by too many joss sticks

Main hall destroyed by fire

3

Lukang Fengshan Temple

County level historic sites

1822

2016.8.24

Flaming joss sticks

The earliest Koji Pottery destroyed by fire

▲ Figure 7-1-1 :Fire-control holy animals / Chiwen with dragon head and fish body placed on roofs of Taiwan temples( Source: Photo by Dragon Seekers ) ▲ Figure 7-1-2 :Changhua Yuan Ching Kuan after restoration( Source: Photo by Dragon Seekers)
▲ Figure 7-1-3 :Shengang Fuan Temple damaged by the big fire( Source: Photo by Dragon Seekers ) ▲ Figure 7-1-4:Lukang Fengshan Temple damaged by the big fire( Source: Photo by Dragon Seekers)


Emphasis Attached to Disaster Prevention and Control of Historical Sites

   The nearly 300-year-old Chunghwa County has a total of 30 ancient temples, of which 12 have been listed as historic buildings. The abundant historical sites, historic buildings and other tangible cultural assets in the county, due to the fire accidents in Yuan Ching Kuan, Lukang Fengshan Temple and other sites, have received better protection. Changhua County Government has encouraged precaution measures against fire damage and arranged circuit inspection on the 44 temple sites and historic buildings within the county.


▲ Figure 7-1-5:Chunghwa County launches circuit inspection on temple sites ( Source: Fair Media, December 16, 2016, Changhua / Tsung-hsien Lin ) ▲ Figure 7-1-6:The burning of joss sticks and tinsel for connection with deities and worship poses threat to temple safety ( Source: Photo by Dragon Seekers)


Suggestions

 Changhua County Government and Changhua City Office have strengthened the fire-prevention work since several fire accidents happened to historical sites in Changhua Area, which is laudable. The following suggestions are given by dragon seekers after discussion:

  1. The traditional sacrifice offering and act of worship as a result of civilian beliefs often lead to burning of license, paper money, oil lamp, candlelight, and other dangerous acts and should only be allowed in empty areas. A special fire-protection zone should be set up to avoid inflammables and the above-mentioned acts should be banned within temples.
  2. Replicas of important cultural relics should be in display instead of the authentic ones, which should be preserved in safer museums, in order to spread risk and prevent theft, destruction or damage caused by natural environment.

▲ Figure 7-1-7 : Lukang Fengshan TempleKoji Pottery burnt down ( Source: Photo by Dragon Seekers) ▲Figure 7-1-8 : Changhua Nanyao Temple Hall Avalokitesvara Buddhisatva Stone Carving by Li Tieguai (the first among the Eight Immortals in Chinese folk tale and Taoism), a restored replica after the real one stolen ( Source: Photo by Dragon Seekers)
▲ Figure7-1-9 : GuanyinStone Carving, one of the four treasures of Lukang Longshan Temple, undergoing weathering ( Source: Photo by Dragon Seekers) ▲Figure 7-1-10 : GuanyinStone Carving, one of the four treasures of Lukang Longshan Temple, undergoing weathering ( Source: Photo by Dragon Seekers)

Trace of Dragons in Changhua - Meet the Dragon through Time  / Team:Dragon Seekers
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