Sunday, January 14, 2007

Five Officials' Temple Part II

(12 Nov 2006, Hainan)
(continued from Five Officials' Temple, Part I)

When one is at the Five Officials' Temple, one should not miss Sugong Ci (The memorial hall of Mr Su Dongpo).

According to the words on one of the plaques, Mr Su Dongpo, a famous literati, "lived in exile in Hainan from 1097 to 1100". He contributed greatly to cultural and educational development of Hainan.

At Sugong Ci, one can also find murals depicting Mr Su Dongpo's four years living in exile in Hainan.

At the Five Officials' Temple, my cousin particularly pointed me to a spring. According to the records, this was one of the two springs that Mr Su Dongpo had dug when he was here in Hainan. It has been said that the water from this spring has a mildly sweet tast and contains many essential minerals. I didn't try the water from the spring there to verify the information. I only know that this is one of the most famous springs in Hainan.

There is a building that exhibits a number of Mr Su Dongpo's calligraphy. I must admit that while I come from a Chinese-speaking family, I am largely exposed to Western art and have limited knowledge of Chinese art. I stood right at a plaque that describes the calligraphy style of Mr Su Dongpo, but I realised I did not have enough fundamental knowledge in Chinese calligraphy to be able to appreciate the contents on the plaque. I wonder if there is any folk who is well-versed in Chinese calligraphy who can enlighten me please?

There is this predominantly red and large building that caught my attention. Somehow, it has a fairly unique architecture, though I can't tell exactly why. That building was the Five Officials' Temple (also known as the Hainan First Building and inside that very temple, one can find tablets that pay tribute to the five famous figures who have been recognised to have played important roles in the development of Hainan's culture.

By the way, I like the sculptures nearby that red building. I could not help but to take snapshots of them. I might have preferred visiting the Five Officials' Temple on my own. I could take walk about at my pace instead of being at the pace of my accompanying relatives. Anyway, there was quite a bit to see at the Five Officials' Temple that one day would not enough.

There were also other red, but smaller buildings within the premises. I took notice of the beams. I was told that no nail has been used to build many of these buildings. How ingenious.

If I could have more time at the Five Officials Temple, I would have read about each of the five officials in detail. They have been known to be people with exemplary characters and integrity, it should do me good to learn from them.

By the way, I shall post Part III of Five Officials Temple some time later. If you would still like to find out about the Qi2qu1 Qiao, (which literally means a bridge whose path keeps winding and isn't smooth), found right in the premises of the Five Officials Temples, please stay tuned.

No comments: