Thursday, February 4, 2016

Five Concubines Temple / 五妃廟


I went to the Five Concubines Temple a little while back.  Aside from the link to the left, you can also read a little about the prince, Jew Shoe Gweigh, whose concubines these women were here.

Long story short, Shoe Gweigh was the last prince of the Ming dynasty.  He never had the chance to become emperor properly because the Ming was being invaded by the Manchurians, who would later set up the Ching dynasty.  Shoe Gweigh got chased first to southern China, and eventually over to Taiwan once all of China had fallen to the Manchurians.  Taiwan was at the time controlled by a Ming loyalist who had set up his own kingdom on the island after kicking out the Dutch.  Shoe Gweigh lived on Taiwan until, eventually, it too was invaded by the Manchurians.  He committed suicide rather than surrender, and his five concubines were so loyal to him that they chose to follow him in death rather than start their lives over.  This temple was later erected near their grave in commemoration of them.  In traditional Chinese society, the role of women is basically just to follow men and support them in whatever they do, so these women were highly regarded for their choice to commit suicide.


The temple is very small compared to most, but it's surrounded by this beautiful park.


A marker for the grave.


There is another small shrine behind the Five Concubines Temple.  I'm unclear to its purpose.



Back at the entrance to the temple.


And looking up at the roof.



The entrance, with the doors closed.  Some French tourists were there when I was, and they decided to close the doors so that they could get a picture of all four figures at once.  It wasn't my idea, but I took advantage of the opportunity to snap my own photo.  The middle two are eunuchs, and the outer two are female maids.


Here's the door open again.


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