First attempt not good enough, another jump…
The Temple of Five Officials “五公祠” (Wugong Ci) is a memorial of five officials from the Tang and Song Dynasties located to the southeast of the city of Haikou on Hainan Island. During the times of these dynasties, Hainan was perceived as a remote part of the empire and was used as a place for banishment for disgraced court officials.
The five officials commemorated at the temple encountered such a fate, after losing power struggles within the imperial court. They are the Tang chancellor Li Deyu (李德裕), and the four Song ministers Li Gang (李纲), Zhao Ding (赵鼎), Li Guang (李光), and Hu Quan (胡铨). They are represented by a stone statue in the temple ground.
The Temple of Five Officials was constructed during the reign of Emperor Wanli in the Ming Dynasty. After many years of renovation and development, this existing Temple of Five Officials is an attractive ancient architectural complex known for its sense of peace, tranquillity and beauty.
I visited the Temple of Five Officials with my wife on 24 December 2014. We alighted from Bus No 37 at a bus stop on 169 Haifu Road, Qiongshan, in the city of Haikou on Hainan Province.
In this blog, we would like to share many photographs of this peaceful and beautiful temple taken during our tour there.
The temple’s main building is the Five Lords Ancestral Hall. It is a red two-storey wooden building. A historical inscription on a board over the front entrance on the second floor of this building declares it as “海南第一楼”, the “first building in Hainan”. This building was constructed to commemorate the five officials. The five stone statues of these officials are housed around this hall.
One of the thriving trees planted in the Temple of Five Officials is a carambola (star fruit) tree just beside the stone statue of Li Deyu (李德裕).
Exiting the Five Lords Ancestral Hall (五公祠), we come to the Sugong Ancestral Hall (苏公祠). This hall was built to commemorate Su Dongpo, an outstanding poet and writer in the Song Dynasty. He was suppressed and sent into exile in Hainan in 1097.
While in Hainan, he directed the local people to dig two springs when he heard that the people were finding it difficult to get water supplies. The wells were later named “Fu Su Spring” and a pavilion was named as “Dong Zhou Pavilion” (泂酌亭).
I was caught by two big trees on each side in front of the Sugong Ancestral Hall. The signage reads “鸡蛋花树”. When literally translated, it means that two trees are “Chicken Egg Flower Tree”. Actually, the trees are simply “frangipani”.
Exiting the Sugong Ancestral Hall to the right, we enter into the Ancestral Hall of the Two Fupo Generals, namely Lu Bode and Ma Yuan. This hall was built to commemorate their heroic achievements.
Walking up the stairway and to the back of the Ancestral Hall of the Two Fupo Generals, you will find a Bronze Buddha temple and the Five Officials’ Temple. You can also find the Youxian Cave, literally means the “wandering immortal cave”.
HaiRui (1514 – 1587), born in Qiongshan, Hainan Province, was a Chinese official in the Ming Dynasty. In China, he is remembered as a statesman for his honesty and integrity in office. He has been praised as “海青天” (Hai Qing Tian).
HaiRui was raised by his mother. His father died when he was three.
HaiRui was unsuccessful in the official examinations. His official career only began when he was 36, with a humble position as clerk of eduction in Fujian Province. He gained a reputation for his uncompromising adherence to upright morality, scrupulous honesty, poverty and fairness. This won him widespread popular support but made him many enemies in the bureaucracy. Eventually he submitted a memorial impeaching the Jiajing Emperor himself in 1565 and was imprisoned. He was released after the Emperor died in early 1567.
HaiRui was reappointed under the Longqing Emperor. He was soon forced to resign in 1570 after complaints were made over his overzealous handling of land-tenure issues. He was disappointed and retired to his hometown for the next 15 years. In 1585, he was brought back to the Empire’s “auxiliary capital” of Nanjing to serve under the Wanli Emperor. HaiRui was promoted to censor-in-chief of Nanjing a year later, but passed away in office in the third year of service at the age of 74.
The HaiRui Tomb was originally built in 1589 during the Ming Dynasty, and some of the constructions in the tomb garden remain intact. Today, it is a key cultural relic preservation of Hainan Province.
The HaiRui Tomb is located on 39 Qiuhai Avenue, Longhua, Haikou, Hainan Island, China, 570311. The entrance fee is 10 yuan.
The HaiRui Tomb has become a famous scenic spot in Haikou and is a place worthy of a visit. You will be greeted by the exuberant coconut palms, pines and sweet lotus, which make the tomb garden tranquil, simple. You can view the amazing architecture and also learn more about HaiRui.
I visited the HaiRui Tomb with my wife on 23 December 2014. We spent about 3 hours touring around the tomb garden. I am posting the photographs that we snapped during the visit in this blog. I hope you will enjoy viewing them and at the same time get to know a little about this great statesman.
The Exhibition Hall displays some materials about HaiRui and his handwritings and carved stone. These will help deepen you in the understanding of this outstanding official in Chinese history.
The passage to the HaiRui Tomb is about 100 meter long. Exuberant coconut trees, pines, bamboo and cypresses shield the cemetery all year round. Many stone sculptures of tiger, sheep, horse, lion and man stand along both sides of this path leading to the tomb.
Walking forward along the passage way, you can see a stone tortoise carrying a stele on its back.
The stories, cultural relics and antiques related to the life experience of HaiRui are exhibited in the Pavilion of Breeze.