日月潭文武廟

台灣南投縣魚池鄉中正路63號

Tuesday, Nov 21st

Last update:08:57:00 PM GMT

You are here:

The beauty of the layout and architecture of Wen Wu Temple

E. “Richly ornamented building with carved straight beams”  The beauty of the layout and architecture of Wen Wu Temple

The layout and atmosphere of the Wen Wu Temple is majestic and delicate. The first feature of the temple is the central position, containing the spiritual energies of mountain and rivers. Another feature of the temple is the wonderful workmanship excelling nature coming from intelligence and great wisdom, so that such a magnificent-scale temple with elaborate structure was accomplished. The combination of architectural arts and spiritual energies of mountain and rivers is the main factor to comprise the special style of this temple.
The design of the Wen Wu Temple originates from the Pong Hu artisan, Master Zi Nan, SHIEH. He has learned from great maestro and is great on construction and building. Many temples in Pong Hu and Taiwan were constructed by him. The design of Wen Wu Temple is especially his masterpiece. 
This temple is a Northern-style palace construction. The main color tone is gold which brings golden radiance to the temple. The overall layout is composed by several halls arranged in order which forms a large square-shape group of buildings. The principal hall situates in center and the secondary halls arrange symmetrically in order on both right and left sides, making a double-square layout. The entire atmosphere is .upright and foursquare and serious, which is similar with the Forbidden City in Beijing. Moreover, the construction has used high and large stone steps. The halls have been built in order, the latter the higher. Therefore, this temple is towering and outstanding. Its glorious and spectacular status is showed by nature.
The temple situates on the Northern mountain of the Sun Moon Lake, situating in the east and facing west. It sees the scenic sights of mountains and rivers. The principal architecture introduces “one court-two square-three courts”, containing successively the monumental archway, the temple square, Prayer Hall, campanile and drum hall, the Martial Sage Hall and the DaCheng Hall. The back of temple is a back-mountain garden on which the Loyal and Justice Pavilion is situated. 
(A) 
The temple adopts the structure of monumental archway which has an erect and upstanding shape. There are three entrances opened on the archway. The central one is higher than the other two, which makes the shape of Chinese character “mountain”, so that it is also called “the main gate of a Buddhist temple”. One function of the archway is separating the inside and outside areas of the temple, another function is symbolizing the temple’s honor. The double-eaved roof has three layers. The wings-like curved eaves are very delicate. Under the eaves is a three-layer gorgeous drawn wood bracket. Flowers, birds, auspicious animals are delicately carved on beams, cylinders and columns in the front part of halls, on which the flagstones of KuanYin mountain are inlaid. The “the main gate of a Buddhist temple” is majestic and serves as a foil of the grandeur and splendor of them temple. The quality, color and luster of the temple are warm and kind, and also very intimate for people.
(B) Square of the Temple
After entering in the “main gate of a Buddhist temple”, the wide square appears. The ground is paved with simple but elegant slates of light color, which makes it integrate with the archway and the Prayer Hall. The square is mainly for worship, activities and for visitors and pilgrims to respect and take a rest. The square is wide and bright, being interdependent on the solid and splendid temple, so that the artistic conception of the Wen Wu Temple is increased. 
There are two stone carving lions that are donated by the president of Shinguang Group, Mr. Huo Shi WU, on both the right and left sides of the square. The two lions, playing the pearl and waving the tails, symbolize the protection and welcome. The 6 meters high lions are totally red, big and vigorous. It is not the unique pair in Taiwan, but also a feature of the Wen Wu Temple. 
There has been an ancient stele in this temple which has inscribed the history of the Sun Moon Lake and the Wen Wu Temple at the end of Qing dynasty. However, the stele was destroyed during the reconstruction in 1969. Today, they reset a new stele with green stone on the square in accordance with the inscription of the original one and represent the ancient history of the WenWu Temple.
(C) Prayer Hall, Water and Clouds Hall, Campanile and Drum-tower
Looking up from the square, the Prayer Hall stands erect, providing a clear and open view. The Prayer Hall is a tower-style construction which is mainly for worship, that’s why it is called “Prayer Hall”. The tower is called “Water and Clouds Hall”, consecrating the original gods of the Wen Wu Temple. The Campanile and Drum-tower are situated separately on the right and left sides. The most right door is called “Dragon Door” which is the entrance of the hall, and the most left door is called “Tiger Door” which is the exit of the hall. The central door is the gate for Gods. 
The Prayer Hall is five-bay wide and the corridor on water connects the Campanile and Drum-tower. The roof of the hall is double-eaved and the roof of the Campanile is double-eaved awl roof. The golden tiles are paved on the roofs according to the ancient rules and the auspicious animals are set on the ridge of the roofs. The corridor is in front of the hall and two stone pillars carved in the shape of a dragon are erected in front of the corridor. There are five vermilion doors which are called “five entrances” and there are ten woodcarving colored door-gods on the door planks of these five doors. The dignified door-gods may be said a classical masterpiece with the perfect carving skill. The door gods are protecting gods who take in charge of driving evil spirits, guarding house, ensuring safety, helping to accomplish success and fame, bringing lucky, they are indispensable in all the temples. The door-gods of this temple are two valiant generals of Tang Dynasty, Qing Shu Bao and Wei Chi Gong, and other four pairs of civil door-gods. The civil door-gods hold crown, flower, pine tree, wine cup, etc, which symbolize petition, virtue, fortune, treasure, coronation, promotion, wealth and ever-lasting.
(D) Martial Sage Hall
The Martial Sage Hall is situated after the Prayer Hall. It was named Martial Hall because Gang Gong and Yuei Fei are consecrated in the main hall. Its main hall located at the center of the temple and is also the biggest construction among the buildings of the temple. It has a 21-meters height with a square shape which manifests the powerful martial sages. Ascending on the platform which is a stone-made large base. The platform on the base is called “Dan Chi” (the area at top of palace steps), on which installed a big incense burner. Under the platform is an imperial path made of the stones of GuanYin mountain and carved the “Double-Dragon-Pearl” steps to the throne. The Martial Sage Hall’s structure tempers force with mercy, as vivid as life, which is also a masterpiece. The hall’s roof is double-eaved, The corridor is in front of the hall and two stone pillars carved in the shape of a dragon are erected in front of the corridor. There are thirty pillars in total in this hall, bringing a beauty of rhythm and an impressive grand sight.
There are three doors in the main hall with wooden sliding doors. A horizontal board inscribed “Wu Shen Dien” (Martial Sage Hall) on the lintel. Looking up from the inner hall, a luxurious round ceiling is appeared which is called “plafond” (Zao Jing). Taiwan Camphor trees and Chinese junipers are used for the plafond and are exquisitely carved, it is also composed by thousands of tenons with excellent skills, and all these accomplished such a precious constructive art. In the main shrine, Guan Guon and Yuei Fei are consecrated and the Prince Guan Ping and General Chou Zang are worship on their sides. The city gods are worshiped in the left shrine and God of land is consecrated in the right shrine. The statue of Guan Gong appears powerful with great momentum, which is a rare masterpiece in Taiwan; the figure of Yuei Fei is calm, elegant and respectful, it seems that he has great military strategies at heart. Which deserved to be noticed is the god shrine of the main hall; hundreds of small statues are carved on the shrine. The delicate carving skill makes the statues true-to-life and gives people a sight never to be forgotten.
The excellent building structure of the Martial Sage Hall has an ingenious fusion with the spirits and momentum of the consecrated gods. Therefore, after entering the hall, people not only gives respect to gods, but also touched by gods’ loyalty and righteousness. Furthermore, their personality will be enlightened by the concept “Those who act will be like them.” Consequently, the personality and spirits of Guan Gong and Yuei Fei are remembered forever by posterity.
(E) Da Cheng Hall
The colorful relief “Nine Dragons Plying with Pearls” in front of the Da Cheng Hall forms a contrast of red and gold. In this hall, Confucius is mainly consecrated. He has represented a generalization of culture, so that the hall is called “Da Cheng Hall” (Comprehensive Hall). This hall was constructed by ancient system, which is very different from the former two halls. The remarkable feature is the double-layerarched roof which is the highest level of palace construction and also symbolizes the supreme position of Confucius. There is no stone pillar carved in the shape of a dragon installed in front of the temple, the main entrance, shrine and statue are different from others, this is the unique layout of the Confucius temple. 
This hall has three doors made of vermilion wood which is called “plate doors”. In the center of the doors, there is a pair of animal-look copper knockers which are called “knocker-holder” (Pu Shou). This kind of animal is a divine animal which is called “Li”. According to the legend, “Li” is the youngest one of the nine offsprings birthed by Dragon with a name “Jiao Tu”. Therefore, “Pu Shou” is also called “Jiao Tu”. There are 108 round copper nails heads on the doors which are called “door nails” and symbolize a sum of the 36 dippers and 72 spirits of earth. The nails have the same function of door-gods which can drive out evil spirits. The main shrine used the “hollow-out” skill and carved animals, flowers and birds with delicate and elegant style. With exquisite techniques and abundant colors, the colorful painting of the spirits of shrine was truly a fresco masterpiece. 
In the main shrine, the young Confucius seated with a tablet in hand. His appearance looked stately and kind, he taught with patience and skill in accordance with benevolence and courtesy. It is reported that this statue was done in Yong Li Regime of Ming Dynasty, it was also sent to Japan for refounding. Therefore, this statue is an extremely precious historical antique with high value. Mencius and Zengzi were consecrated in the right shrine and Yen Tzu and Zi Si were consecrated in the left shrine. On both sides of the inner hall, the tablets of the 72 Confucius’s apprentices. Those five divine statues were founded and carved with bronze, which are the only five around Taiwan. Especially the statues of Confucius, Mencius and Zi Si were enshrines in the state temple of Forbidden City, however, at the end of Qing Dynasty, the three statues were robbed by Eight-Power Allied Forces and has passed through many places and then worshipped in Japan. The Wen Wu Temple was completed in 1979 and people have gone to Japan for statues’ refounding, donating and placing, etc. Afterwards, a Praise Ceremony for Confucius was held in Saitama-Ken Tokorozawa-shi in Japan, Taiwan has presented the feathers of national treasure pheasant for the six-square dance in ritual. There were 36 bundles, including 108 feathers for the great ceremony use. Thereafter, on every occasion of Confucius’s birthday, people follow the ancient manners and Confucianism, imitate the ancient system, worship by squad dance and celebrate. No one who visits the Lake and the Temple won’t look at with reverence and give highly praises.

Confucius is a Saint also a God in people’s mind. Therefore, the Confucius temple has less religious meaning, but more worshipful and educational significances. The palace has been constructed to present the dignity of the “uncrowned emperor” and the vermilion doors are used to symbolize the solemnity of courtesy and education. The Da Cheng Hall is at the highest position, directing the group of halls, has explained the benevolence, righteousness, ceremonies and music, combined with culture and braveness, so that the human culture has surpassed the meaning of political and financial ranks. Visitors and scholars who come into this hall not only give their respects and praises to sages’ and the virtuous’ education and enlightenment, but also emulate those better than themselves. This will be beneficial for their virtue and studies.