Fang’s Ancestral Hall, located in Hetian Village in Houjie Town of Dongguan in Guangdong Province, ranks as the remarkable architecture among ancient ancestral halls in South China and one of the biggest ancestral halls in Dongguan. With a history of over 600 years, Fang’s Ancestral Hall was originally built in 1399 of the Ming Dynasty and was rebuilt in 1855 of the Qing Dynasty, which is the cultural relic under provincial-level protection. In the ancestral hall, there are a number of ancient cultural relics. According to the textual research of relevant experts and scholars, Fang’s Ancestral Hall boasts great historical, artistic and scientific value. After the overall renovation between 2007 and 2008, Fang’s Ancestral Hall has become a characteristic tourist attraction with natural beauty as well as rich history and culture.
Fang’s Ancestral Hall is 66.6 meters long and 18.8 meters wide, covering an area of about 1,238 square meters. It consists of 5 contiguous houses which look rather magnificent. The tiling of the houses is made of lime tile barrels and the roofs are inlayed with ceramic painted sculptures exquisitely. Below the roofs, there are very vivid and lifelike traditional Chinese paintings and famous poets of the Tang and Song dynasties.
The first house is a square and the gate. In front of the square, there is a stone balustrade with the height of about 1.5 meters. On both sides of the central square, there are two large gallant stone lions. You can also see a number of solid color paintings looking very graceful. On the upper part of the gate, there is a big xylographic horizontal inscribed board with four regular script characters writing“方氏宗祠 (Fang’s Ancestral Hall)”. The main hall is the third house where the Fang’s ancestral memorial tablets are worshipped.
Legend of Fang’s Ancestral Hall
According to legend, the remote ancestors of Hetian Village used to live in Putian of Fujian. At that time, there were six brothers with the family name of Fang. During the reign of Emperor Zhaozong of the Tang Dynasty, the six brothers took imperial competitive examination and they succeeded successively. In 1229, Fang Bangrong moved to Hetian from Putian and inhabited there and became the first ancestor of Hetian. The later generations in Hetian made a plaque in order to memorize and chant the praise of the six brothers, aiming to encouraging their children.
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