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Changhua Temple of Confucius



 History

  Changhua Temple of Confucius is a first-class national historic site, and was built in the Fourth Year of the reign of Emperor Yongzheng in the Qing Dynasty (1726) mainly for worshiping the Greatest Sage and Teacher Confucius and for offering sacrifice to the disciples of Confucius and the wise men and Confucians in the past dynasties. It was the school with the most complete academic system in Taiwan in the early Qing Dynasty. Previously, Baisha Academy, one of Taiwan's four major academies, was set up here. In Taiwan, only Changhua Temple of Confuciu and Tainan Confucian Temple are the Confucius Temples included in the first-class national historic sites. Through the detailed explanations by the guiding staff with the Changhua City Office, we understood the beauty and magnificence of Changhua Temple of Confucius which shows the extraordinary momentum with tons of dragon-based building components. The Confucius Temple which is renowned for its most gorgeous architectural details Temple can be seen everywhere, including Dragon head, Chi Tiger woodcarving, Chiwen on the roof, two dragons grabbing a ball, carp jumping over dragon gate, dragon column and rare five-clawImperial Road Dragon/Cloud Dragon stone. The well-known 200-year-old five-clawdragon ornamentation ancient bell is Taiwan's precious cultural assets.

  Confucius Temple is not only a place where people sacrifice offering to Confucius, but also the place where the local academies are located and represent the special buildings with education significance in the culture of Han people. Confucius Temple can be found in all counties and cities in Taiwan. However, Changhua Temple of Confucius was the only culture and education center in the north and middle area in the early Qing Dynasty, so the students looking after success must attend the Changhua Temple of Confucius which is an indicative historic site. The temple also serves as a historic scenic spot. In addition to the buildings of Confucius Temple, other important cultural relics encompass (1) ancient inscribed boards conferred by the emperors of past dynasties (2) a 200-year-old ancient bell (3) Imperial Road Dragon/Cloud Dragon stone (4) a pair of single coiled dragon ornamental columns in front of the Dacheng Hall and (5) other historic stone.

Figure 3-1-1 :Original Appearance Model of Changhua Temple of Confucius (placed in the Chongsheng Shrine). The Changhua Temple of Confucius is a building with 4 exits and 3 yards including Lingxing Gate, Ji Gate (Dacheng Gate), Dacheng Hall and Chongsheng Shrine. Currently, the architectural types of the Confucius Temple still maintain the size of reconstruction in the 10th year of Qing Daoguang (1830). (Source: Photo by Dragon Seekers)

Figure 3-1-2 :The original door plaque was "Lingxing Gate" and was renamed the "Confucius Temple" after renovation. (Source: Photo by Dragon Seekers)

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 Features of the Lingxing Gate

  The Lingxing Gate of Changhua Temple of Confucius (outside door of the Confucius Temple) were designed to have a roof to seek shelter from wind and rain during the renovation, different from the memorial archway design of Lingxing Gate in Mainland ChinaTemple and Cemetery of Confucius and the Kong Family Mansion in Qufu. (According to inscriptions of renovating the Yixue Monument 25 th year of Qing Qianlong: ... The old Lingxing Gate was replaced with a new one and equipped with a roof to seek shelter from wind and rain ...) Later other Confucius Temples i Taiwan followed the design.

  The Confucius Temple was for official worship ceremony, so the Lingxing Gate (outside door of the Confucius Temple) presents the simple and not gorgeous style of official worship ceremony in northern areas of mainland China. Not painted with door deities but having 108 doornails on the doors instead, in the Qing Dynasty, this kind of door could only be used in the palace and office temples (official temples like Confucius Temple, Martial Temple and Mazu Temple), which therefore is Also the main feature to identify the official temple.

  6 pillars (prayer wheels) with dragon and phoenix ornamentation are erected to the roof and represent six arts (Rites, Music, Archery, Charioteering, Calligraphy and Mathematics). Different from the general Confucius temples, this temple only installed one pair (two pillars) in Dacheng Hall, which is unique in Taiwan and one of characteristics of Changhua Temple of Confucius. In the early years when the government retreated to Taiwan, when a government official saw the Confucius Temple in Changhua, he found 6 pillars like "chimneys" on the roof ridge of Dacheng Gate (the present front door). He said he large numbers of Confucius Temples in mainland China, but never did he see such building. Therefore, he immediately asked the officials next to him why the Confucius Temple had chimneys, and knew that these were the "pillars" after the officials' explanation. (Excerpts from Yangguang Changhua Issue 11/Publication of Changhua County Government)


▲ Figure 3-1-3 : Photo of the team of Dragon Seekers and guiding teachers (Source: Photo by Dragon Seekers)

▲Figure 3-1-4 :The Lingxing Gate designed a roof to seek shelter from rain, and no door deities paintings were replaced by 108 doornails, indicating great respect. No decorations of dragon and tiger totem on the left and right wall 。 (Source: Photo by Dragon Seekers )
▲ Figure 3-1-5 :The Lingxing Gate of the Changhua Temple of Confucius (outside door of the Confucius Temple) was equipped with six pillars (prayer wheels) on the roof which are also represented in dragon totem(Source: Photo by Dragon Seekers ) ▲Figure 3-1-6 :Figure 3-1-6: Stone drums at the door imitating Jiaotu of nine sons of dragon ( Source: Photo by Dragon Seekers )
▲ Figure 3-1-7 :Beside the right wall of the Lingxing Gate is built the "Wall of Supreme Knowledge" which is also named the “Wall of Nine Ren (an ancient unit, one Ren is approximately 161 to 184 cm)” and is a towering screen wall. It origins from the Chapter of Zizhang, Analects of Confucius. Zigong said that "The wall of my Master is several fathoms high. If one does not find the door and enters by it, he cannot see the ancestral temple with its beauties, nor all the officers in their rich array."  Ten thousand, several and nine are used to describe "big". The existence of the "Wall of Supreme Knowledge" is used to describe Confucius's high morality. (Source: Photo by Dragon Seekers ) ▲Figure 3-1-8 :Beside the right wall of the Lingxing Gate is built an inscription of "dismounting from a horse" which reads "civil and military officials and ordinary people dismount from a horse when reaching here". This shows people's respect for the Greatest Sage and Teacher Confucius. It is said that there are only three tablets of "dismounting from a horse" inscribed in both Chinese characters and Manchu scripts in Taiwan, so they are extremely precious. ( Source: Photo by Dragon Seekers )

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  Features of the Ji Gate

  Ji Gate (inside door of the Confucius Temple) is also called the Dacheng Gate. In order to meet the ritual of mainland China, Changhua Temple of Confucius has the design of Ji Gate. The second entrance of the Changhua Temple of Confucius is the Ji Gate, the first in the buildings of Confucius Temple in Taiwan. The Ji Gate means that the military officers need to remove his weapons before he can enter the gate. 

  ike Lingxing Gate, Ji Gate is not painted with door deities but has 108 doornails on the doors instead to show the highest respect for Confucius.


▲ Figure 3-1-9 :Dragon head door pins are generally the building components protruded on the top of the temple entrance door, and used to fix the Menying (the entrance and exit of a building or a device with a switch in the entrance and exit) and door lintel. They are generally carved into a circle, square, animal or other shapes. The building components are called door pins or door sockets based on the shape. (Source: Photo by Dragon Seekers)

▲Figure 3-1-10 :Woodcarvings under the outside of Ji Gate (inside door of Confucius Temple) and Chiwen at the top. ( Source: Photo by Dragon Seekers )
▲ Figure 3-1-11 : The shape of dragon head and fish body at the top of Ji Gate (inside door of Confucius Temple) is one of the nine sons of dragon - Chiwen. Chiwen are fond of s standing atop rooftops and stare off into the distance, and has the significance of preventing fire and coming out top.(Source: Photo by Dragon Seekers ) ▲Figure 3-1-12:According to legends, when a monster in the East Sea got its tail up, there would be rain. Therefore, the craftsmen shaped its image on the roof ridge to prevent fire, and protect the wooden buildings with its ability to bring rain. ( Source: Photo by Dragon Seekers )
▲ Figure 3-1-13 :The 200-year-old ancient bell of the Ji Gate (inside door of Confucius Temple) (a large bell made in the 16th year of Qing Jiaqing, 1811), and the two ancient bells in Lukang Longshan Temple and Tainan Confucian Temple are Taiwan's important three ancient bells.(Source: Photo by Dragon Seekers ) ▲Figure 3-1-14 :The five-claw dragon ornamentation on the ancient bell.( Source: Photo by Dragon Seekers )
▲ Figure 3-1-15 :The animal modeling on the bell knocker is "Pulao". The "tail/body" of two dragons are connected, shaped like a dragon but smaller. Pulao is known for his booming voice and is one of the nine sons of dragon. (Source: Photo by Dragon Seekers ▲Figure 3-1-16 :Woodcarving of dragon head under the eave of Ji Gate ( Source: Photo by Dragon Seekers )

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 Dacheng Hall

  The roof of Dacheng Hall of Changhua Temple of Confucius is shaped in gorgeous double-eave and gable and hip roof, fully demonstrating momentum and magnificence. The roof ridge of Dacheng Hall are decorated with two dragons worshipping at the tower , representation of dragon totem in many stone carvings, woodcarvings, clay sculptures, porcelain carvings and Koji Pottery. This is the Confucius Temple with the most meticulous architectural details of Qing Dynasty in Taiwan, and gorgeous yet dignified.

▲ Figure 3-1-18 :In the 10th year of Qing Daoguang (1830), in order to meet the rites, Changhua Temple of Confucius raised the height of podiums in Dacheng Hall and Chongsheng Shrine in order to highlight the grand momentum of main buildings along the central axis. In fact, the podium of the Confucius Temple is generally higher than that of the traditional buildings. Some scholars believe that this suggests the class superiority of Chinese scholars and bureaucrats. ▲Figure 3-1-19 :The single coiled dragon columns in front of the Dacheng Hall is made of Quanzhou granite, and is a work in the middle of the Qing Dynasty. It has simple and vigorous lines. ( Source: Photo by Dragon Seekers )
▲ Figure 3-1-20 :Chiwen is placed in four corners of the lower roof ridge and is one of the nine sons of dragon and can swallow fire and spit water.(Source: Photo by Dragon Seekers ) ▲Figure 3-1-21:The corridor of Dacheng Hall is decorated with tons of woodcarvings, and dragon head woodcarvings can be seen everywhere( Source: Photo by Dragon Seekers )
▲ Figure 3-1-22 :Roof guardian of Dacheng Hall Azure Dragon(Source: Photo by Dragon Seekers ) ▲Figure 3-1-23 :Imperial Road Dragon/Cloud DragonStone Carving in front of podiums of Dacheng Hall.  ( Source: Photo by Dragon Seekers )
▲ Figure 3-1-24 :We find five-claw Cloud Dragon on the Imperial Road. In the feudal age, five-claw dragon was a dedicated royal totem, and civilians were banned from using such dragon. Therefore, it is very rare to see such dragon in the Confucius Temple for official worship ceremony in the Qing Dynasty.  (Source: Photo by Dragon Seekers ) ▲Figure 4-5-10 :Imperial road stone (dragon-howling, Imperial Road) is piece of granite on the slope of the terrace stone steps of the Dacheng Hall. The surface is engraved with Cloud Dragon. When the examiners passing the provincial civil service examination returned home after getting fame or money, they had the custom of ascending the terrace in three steps.  ( Source: Photo by Dragon Seekers )

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 Dacheng Hall Inside

▲ Figure 3-1-25 :The shrine dragon in the Dacheng Hall is presented with carvings of diverse dragon ornamentations like a palace. ▲Figure 3-1-26 :Ao Dragon, Chi Tiger on the shrine of Dacheng Hall ( Source: Photo by Dragon Seekers )
▲ Figure 3-1-27 :Ancient inscribed boards conferred by the emperors of past dynasties (Source: Photo by Dragon Seekers ) ▲Figure 3-1-28:Dragon ornamentation painting on the main beam of the Dacheng Hall ( Source: Photo by Dragon Seekers )
▲ Figure 3-1-29 :Inserted gusset is based on dragon head in the four corners of Dacheng Hall(Source: Photo by Dragon Seekers ) ▲Figure 3-1-30 :A Comparison of the pavement of balcony and of main beam of the Chongsheng Shrine Tile arrangements represent different significances. Cross means quietness and prudence, while herringbone means accessibility.  ( Source: Photo by Dragon Seekers )
▲ Figure 3-1-31 :Bricking patterns on the wall engraving beside stylobate is a feature of buildings in Changhua Temple of Confucius.(Source: Photo by Dragon Seekers ) ▲Figure 3-1-32 :Different patterns have different significances.( Source: Photo by Dragon Seekers )

(A).Swastika pattern symbolizes of endlessness.
(B).The pattern of censer symbolizes passing down from generation to generation
(C).Hexagonal, also known as turtle shell, is a longevity pattern and a symbol of longevity. Turtle shell ("Guijia" in Chinese) sounds like "Kejia", meaning passing the provincial civil service examination.
(D).The pattern of ancient coins is a symbol of wealth. The ancient coins were produced with a hole in the middle to be threaded with a string, meaning the words by Confucius that "my doctrine is that of an all-pervading unity". 

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