Friday, December 4, 2015

Chun Shrine / 陳堂 / 陳德聚堂


I'm picking up from where I left off in the last post.  This time we're visiting a historical building that is a personal favorite of mine.  It's a very handsome building, but it's also not very well known it seems.  I haven't been able to find any English language information about it online, and even the Mandarin Wikipedia page is pretty sparse.



We're coming up on it from behind.  Here's the outer wall.



The architecture reminds me a lot of Duh-Hwa Temple.

A bat on the door knob.


Here's the front.


"Chun Duh Jew Tahng"
The character in the window is "Chun".  ("Chen" in standard Hanyu Pinyin, though the pronunciation is more like "fun", than "men", which is why I chose to use a U instead of an E.)  It's a common family name in Taiwan, and the family name of the family that this shrine belongs to.

I love these brick walls.


Here's the central courtyard.  I'm actually looking back at the front entrance that I came in through.



There is an altar in the center of the photo below.  This building was originally built more than 300 years ago by one of Koxinga's generals, surnamed Chun.  It was originally a house, but later on his descendants converted it to a family shrine.  These kinds of shrines are not uncommon in Taiwan.  A successful family will sometimes have a central shrine that all the members of the extended family will go to to worship their ancestors.  From what I understand, the descendants of Chun still come here.  When I visited here, there was someone working/volunteering here who gave me a bit of a tour.  He took pains to point out that, unlike the columns in a typical Taoist temple, which are covered in dragon motifs, the columns here are plain because it was originally a house.  In general, the decoration is a bit more spartan than a typical temple would be.  I think that's one reason I liked the place so much.


As usual, there are guys supporting the roof.

There were paintings expressing the ideals of filial piety.



To either side of the main courtyard are two more open spaces, surrounded by rooms.  This design is just like that seen a lot in traditional houses in Taiwan.



If this were a typical temple, either Buddhist or Taoist, there would be statues of gods here, but because this is a family shrine, there is just the plaque in the center.  (Well, ok, there actually are some small statues around the plaque, but if it were a public temple there would be a lot more and they would be bigger.)

There's some very nice woodwork.

This photo is unfortunately blurry and not very good, but I really wanted to show this flower design.


At the main entrance was this stand of decorative spears.  The Chun who first built this place was a general, so perhaps that's why.


I got much of my info from the guy who gave me a tour of this place.  He was very enthusiastic about the building, and hoped that it would become better known in the future.  It seems that even among Taiwanese tourists this building is not particularly well-visited.  It's much overshadowed by Tainan's many other more famous historical buildings.  However, this is one of my favorite buildings of the ones I've seen in Tainan, so I recommend that everyone who visits Tainan goes here.  It's got a very elegant beauty to it that I think is actually lacking even in some of the more famous temples.

The building's name in standard pinyin is "Chen De Ju Tang", and it's located at Zhongxi-qu Yongfu-lu 2-duan 152-xiang 20-hao.  Go to Yongfu-lu between Minsheng-lu and Minquan-lu.  Look for the gaudy sign for "Famous Hotel".  There's a small road to the side of the hotel, between the hotel and Hua Nan Bank, and if you go down that road you'll find the Chun Shrine.



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