Saturday, December 28, 2013

Cheng Family in Tamsui

This three-volume 淡水鎮志Tamsui Town History is in amazing detail, published in June, 2013, now available online [here]. It contains parts of the more recent Cheng Family history.

The biographies of EyeDoc's granduncle (鄭木筆, a physician who gained fame for curing a stomach ailment of the defender of Tamsui, General 孫開華, immediately after the Sino-French war) and second uncle (鄭嘉昌, principal of Wen-hua and Tamsui elementary schools) appear on pp 306 and 304 in Vol 3, respectively.

Members of EyeDoc's paternal grandmother side of family, 忠寮李家, are mentioned in quite a number of places, and the most recent entry, engineer turned Tamsui landscape artist 李永沱. Most important is the record of arrival in Tamsui, from 福建同安, of the first 李 generation in 1751.

An old group photo, class of 1937/8 of 淡水女子公學校Tamsui Girls Elementary School from this blog [here] is quoted on p 300 in Vol 2.

The Cheng family of Tamsui, belonging to 蓮宅鄭 [The House of Lotus], was originally from 泉州南安石井 later re-settled in 同安. This branch descends from one of the survivors of the 1661 Qing Imperial edict of 誅三族, which was to execute not only 鄭芝龍 [鄭成功Koxinga's father, who had surrendered, after ignoring Koxinga's plea for him not to, to the Qing in 1646], but also three generations of the Cheng Clan including 鄭芝龍's parents, brothers and sons and their wives. Only his principal wife Lady 顏Yan and a brother 鄭芝豹 were spared. His grandchildren, fortunately, were left untouched.

Cheng Family record listing 鄭芝龍's sons, daughters-in-law, and grandsons; 鄭成功 is identified by his given names, 森 and 大木.

In the 1930s, 鄭木筆, better known in Tamsui as 木筆先Master Vo-Bi, had returned to 泉州 to pay respects to Cheng ancestors whose grave sites could only be located by landmarks because of previous destruction of the tombs by the Qing - a way of punishing Koxinga, in addition to killing his father and brothers, for his refusal to yield.

After the fall of Tung-Ning Kingdom東寧王朝 in 1683, Koxinga's direct descendants were held hostage in Beijing, pressed into military service, forbidden to return to their hometown in 泉州 where all their properties were already confiscated. Other surviving branches of the Cheng Clan continued on in Hokkien; some, as noted above, had moved to Tamsui, now into the 8th generation since the arrival.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Koxinga in Japanese Literature

『國性爺合戰』 - A drama written by 近松門左衛門 in 1715; painting [above] was by 五粽亭広貞 (published in ca 1850). Koxinga is on the left (identified as 和藤內)

From 『台灣外記』, published in 1874 (明治7年) by author unknown who might have loosely translated it from the historical novel by 江日昇, written during the 康熙 era (Kanxi, 1654-1722, reigned 1662-1722)

Monday, June 17, 2013

Star Sunday

Clipped from Star Sunday (the June 16, 2013 edition), Penang

Sunday, June 2, 2013

News from Penang

Celebrating the arrival of Koxinga statue from Taiwan

Friday, May 3, 2013

After 193 years

The Koxinga Temple in Penang, Malaysia, finally finds its roots in Taiwan.

To formalize the link-up, a statue of Koxinga, known as 金身, is prepared at the Cheng Family Temple in Tainan in an elaborate ritual, complete with food offering accompanied by traditional music. The process, 分靈 or "spiritual cloning" for lack of a better terminology, is required to authenticate the origin of this statue.

The statue is then officially handed over to Chairman Lim of the Koxiga Temple in Peneng for the journey to Malaysia:

Before boarding
Arriving in Penang
Reception at Koxinga Temple in Penang
Finally, the new statue takes up the rightful place (above), replacing the one lost in 1910-20.

After 193 years of isolation, the followers of Koxinga have finally come back to the seat of Tung-Ning Kingdom and celebrated, together with delegates from China and Japan, Koxiga's opening of Taiwan in 1661.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Welcome home, delegates from Penang, Malaysia

The delegates from the Koxinga Shrine in Penang, Malaysia, will start a grand tour of Taiwan on April 25.

They are invited to attend the ceremony at 延平郡王祠 starting at 8AM on April 29 that commemorates Koxinga's re-opening of Taiwan in 1661. This is to be followed by a tour of 臨水夫人廟, 永華宮, and 孔子廟.

They will then return to 鄭成功祖廟 and participate in a welcoming lunch party hosted by Tainan Cheng Clan Association. Delegates from Hirado (Japan), China, and other organizations will also attend.

On April 30, the delegates will go on a 鄭成功文化之旅 and visit 安平古堡, 赤崁樓, 大天后宮, 武廟, and other historical sites. At 4:30PM, they are to receive a statue of Koxinga from 鄭成功祖廟 to prepare for the jourbey back to Penang on May 1.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

The gate to Taiwan

[Left: The shoeless Dutchmen door guards of 鹿耳門鎮門宮 (address: 台南市媽祖宮一街345巷420號).]

鹿耳門 (Luermen or Lakjemuyse) was where Koxinga's fleet sailed through at high tide in 1661 into the then Tai Bay, bypassing the defense of Ft Zeelandia, and landed north of Ft Provincia. The Dutch did not anticipate such a move. Ft Provincia quickly fell and Ft Zeelandia under siege for almost one year before capitulating. [For more, see here.]

A tiny shrine located in An-Ping honoring Koxinga and his mother was built in 1990 to commemorate the feat [better late than never]. It was aptly named 鎮門宮Gate-anchoring Palace, for 鹿耳門 was indeed the gate to Taiwan.

The temple fell into disrepair and was re-built in 2006. There are three sets of double-door gates and one of them features a pair of shoe-less Dutchmen. Bare feet跣足 symbolizes the POW status. They were therefore the defeated Dutchmen now guarding doors to the shrine. Their facial depiction is of modern origin, in fact painted by Mr 林中信Lin Chung-Shin. In 2003, the City Gov't of Tainan officially named them 鹿風Lu-Feng and 耳順Er-Shun, and conferred both of them citizenship, complete with shoe offerings. A popular petition to re-paint them with shoes on (so they can travel long distance - back home to the Netherlands) was not approved by the deities, however.

Traditionally, these paired door guards are high ranking generals known for their martial mights. Among them, the very original and the most famous are 秦瓊 (?-638AD) and 尉遲恭 (585-658AD), both Tang generals. Legend has it that the second Tang emperor 唐太宗 [李世民 599-649AD] was disturbed at night by the spirits of those he had murdered. The emperor ordered these two trusted generals to guard the palace gates that indeed effectively warded off the ghosts. Their full-length fully armored and armed portraits were then painted on the doors and found to be equally effective.

With no exception, all Buddhist and Taoist temples of Chinese origin are built with three double-door gates and each gate is guarded by a pair of door gods. The selection of these deities now varies according to the history of each temple.

The photos below show before, during, and after the re-construction of the 鹿耳門鎮門宮:


[We thank Ronnie for calling our attention to the Dutchmen door guards in Tainan.]