Confucian Temple and Temple to the God of War in Zizhong County
The Concian temple was first built in Northern Song Dynasty (960-1127) in the present Dadong Street and later moved to the north gate of the county town. The temple covers a total area of 6,787 sq meters and the construction area totals 2,608 sq meters. Facing south, the temple is a courtyard (the traditional residential compound in north China) with four rows of houses. The temple boasts two precious ancient tablet inscriptions. One is the imperial inscription of rebuilding the Confucian temple during the reign of Emperor Chenghua (reign time: 1465-1488) of Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). The other is the inscription of Confucian text of great learning. What is special about the second inscription is that the Qing Emperor Kangxi (reign time: 1662-1723) wrote it. The place with the most local color is the seven pierced carvings on the screen wall facing the gate of the temple. The delicate carved patterns of sea of clouds, great waves, crabs, shrimps, fish, dragons, houses, towers, stones and trees tell an old Chinese story. A popular Chinese proverb speaks of the ability of a common carp to “jump the dragon gate” and transform himself into a dragon (liyu tiao long men). The moral in the carvings is that the ancient intellectuals were like the fish in the river. They should keep working hard all the time, and what’s more, they should accept and believe in Confucian texts. Then they could jump into the “dragon gate” and succeed in the imperial examinations. To “jump the dragon gate”, then, was to catch the golden ring of success and fame.
The Temple to the God of War is an ancient temple built to offer sacrifice for Guanyu, a general in the period of Three Kingdoms (220-280). The temple was first built during the reign of Emperor Jiajing (in reign from 1522 to 1567) and was repaired three times during the reign of Emperor Qianlong (in reign in 1736-1796) and Tongzhi (1862-1875). With a similar layout as the Confucian temple, the temple to the God of War used to cover an area of 3,761 sq meters, but now only 1,608.8 sq meters remain. The Waiyu Pond, the screen wall facing the temple gate and the Qingxing Gate have been destroyed in the past. Now the temple is made up of three halls (Caogong, Guansheng and Wuxing), Sanyi Temple, the east and west wings, drum tower, the corridor and the courtyard. In Wuxing Hall, there are the memorial tablets of the emperors Guangzhao, Yuchang and Chengzhong [Guanyu was a general of the Three Kingdoms. He was brave, loyal and righteous. The common Chinese people had long been considering him the God of War. Then in 1758, the Qing Emperor Qianlong (reign time: 1736-1796) conferred upon him the title of the Emperor of War. In 1855, the Qing Emperor Xianfeng (reign time: 1851-1862) conferred upon Guan’s great great father King Guangzhao, his great father King Yuchang and his father Chengzhong and offer sacrifice to them in the temple]. In Sanyi temple there are the statues of Liubei, Guanyu and Zhangfei [Liu was the emperor of Shu Kingdom (221-263), Guan and Zhang were generals in Shu Kingdom]. With delicate construction craftwork, the grand War temple is well preserved now.