Zhang Fei Temple (Ancestral Hall of HuanHou of Han Dynasty)
Zhang Fei Temple is located in the Changjiang (Yangtze) valley, in Sichuan Province, and most recently put under the Chongqing region authority. The temple is situated at the foot of the Flying Phoenix Mountain, on the south shore of the historical city of Yunyang County. It is recorded that Zhang Fei had defended Langzhong faithfully for over 7 years and he was highly respected for his bravery and his loyalty. According to history, he was murdered by his two subordinates and his head was brought to Yunyang. That is why a temple—actually a building group was built here.
Zhang Fei Temple, bears the name of a legendary Chinese hero Zhang Fei, the famous general during the Three Kingdoms Period, maybe is not known to many western visitors, but very famous in Asia. Zhang Fei Temple, built 1,700 years ago, is an important historical site and is known as an important tourist destination in Sichuan Province. It was first built in the 3rd century from the Shu Han Kingdom, of the Three Kingdoms Period (221-263). The original temple had been destroyed by a furious fire, and it was once rebuilt in Ming Dynasty. The actual temple was rebuilt in 1870 after a flood destroyed the previous one. Zhang Fei temple is actually a courtyard dwelling with an area of about 2,200 square kilometers. The temple is composed of many buildings and pavilions such as: the Great Hill Gate, the Diwan Pavilion (in this pavilion, Zhang Fei had defeated thousands of enemies), the Brothers Pavilion, the Helpful Wind Pavilion, a memorial arch, the main hall, the wing-rooms, the tomb group and so on.
The Brothers Pavilion comes from the legend that Liu Bei (the founder of the Shu Kingdom during the Three Kingdoms Period of China. He was portrayed as a virtuous man in Three Kingdom Romance), Guan Yu (an army general of the Three Kingdoms Period who over the years came to be worshipped as the god of wealth in China and among overseas Chinese) and Zhang Fei becoming sworn brothers in the novel Three Kingdom Romance. In front of the main hall, there are giant statues of the three famous Sworn Brothers Liu Bei, Guan Yu and Zhang Fei. Inside the hall sits the wild-eyed, red-faced Guan Yu, On either side are scenes from his life.
The Helpful Wind Pavilion, built 850 years ago, contains steles and huge portraits of the general and his wife. It is said that his spirit, in front of a helpful wind, frequently assisted passing boats. Junkmen used to stop at the temple to light firecrackers and burn incense in appreciation.
Rich collections of paintings, tablets and inscriptions earn Zhang Fei temple high praises. Moreover, the tablet inscriptions, calligraphy, paintings and layers and layers of vermilion banisters and blue tiles are also considered very precious historical and cultural relics. It is well worth 2 to 4 hours visit.
Nowadays, when the national water project would submerge Zhang Fei Temple, people decided to relocate the temple. The original Zhang Fei Temple would be below the water line after the Three Gorges project, so it had to be relocated. The new location is more than 30 kilometers upriver from the old one. It was prudently selected -- the mountain, water and other surroundings are very similar to the old one and near to the town. The relocation steps were also very complicated -- all the wood wares, bricks, tiles, poles and stone wares were numbered, moved to the new location and restored. So you can still enjoy the totally same Zhang Fei temple there.
Zhang Fei, styled Yide, was a native of Zhuo commandery (Presently Zhouzhou City in He Bei Province), being eight-foot tall with a pantherish face, a roaring voice and mad staring eyes. He was first a butcher, then an officer of the Kingdom of Shu and the second member of the Five Tiger Generals from the Three Kingdom's period of Chinese history. According to the legend, Zhang Fei was killed by his own men Zhang Da and Fan Qiang while leading troops to attack the rival kingdom of Wu. People of Langzhong then built a temple in front of his tomb in memory of his loyalty and bravery.