Friday, December 12, 2014

國姓 Royal surname

隆武帝: 南明第2代皇帝(1602~1646)
It is puzzling why after receiving the Ming royal gift of 國姓 (i.e., 朱), 鄭成功 still retained his own surname. So did his sons and grandsons, never a 朱 mentioned anywhere in the clan records compiled later.

In Chinese custom, no one changes his own surname unless married into the wife's family. This was quite different during the Ming Dynasty. Ming emperors gave out the royal name 朱 like candies, and the new 朱s in fact enjoyed special privileges. This renaming had also resulted in an unprecedented upsurge of the 朱 population in China.

By the end of Ming Dynasty, there was really no more privileges to enjoy. 隆武帝, who gave not only the 國姓 to 鄭成功 but also his new given name (in 1645, while lamenting that he did not have a princess for 成功 to marry to), was captured a year later by the Qing and committed suicide by starving himself to death. This had effectively ended the the practice of royal renaming and the prestige associated with it.

鄭成功 had never referred to himself as Koxinga or 國姓爺, that was the Dutch and the common folks, respectively, that did. It was still an honor as far as the Cheng Clan is concerned.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Sunday, September 21, 2014

大伯公 福德正神

On 9/15/2014, a 大伯公花车游行 in Penang, Malaysia, was conducted to celebrate 大伯公's birthday.

大伯公 of 開山聖王廟 in Jelutong, Penang
For a period, 開山王 was absent from the Koxinga Temple in Penang. During that time, 大伯公 took care of Koxinga's followers. 大伯公 is actually 福德正神, i.e., 土地公, not an ancestor as that in clan shrines. Honoring this local deity is a tradition in Taiwan. For example, in Tamsui:

Celebrating the birthday of 福德正神 in Tamsui (taken 9/20/2014)

Sunday, August 10, 2014


青門 seems to have been established at the end of Ming Dynasty (or even later in 1726 according to another source). It is similar but not identical to 洪門. Here are some reports from Taiwan on its recent activities:

Aug 22, 2010

    今年是清[青]幫團體追溯源頭,思念國姓爺來台篳路藍縷,開創台灣386年紀念日,為了感謝延平郡王國姓爺的忠貞愛國情操,特別邀請今全世界、清門最高輩份通字班輩.興武六二十二代弟子 戴寅老爺子率門生弟子,以清門科儀恭祝國姓爺延平郡王聖誕千秋並敬贈鎮門宮【忠義匾】,象徵清幫永遠思念偉大的國姓爺,借此也讓全國百姓知到國姓爺永遠鎮守住台灣之門鹿耳門,保護台灣這片土地。

Oct 29, 2012

The above explains the participation of 青門, in 2013-14, in the exchange programs with Koxinga followers in Penang, Malaysia.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

鄭成功 and 金門

There is a recent saying that “金門人不喜歡鄭成功People of Kinmoy do not like Koxinga”, because all the trees in 金門 had been cut down to build ships for the invasion of Taiwan (in 1661). As a result, the island was laid bare with no greenery in sight, and people had suffered since, etc.

This tree issue appears erroneous. First, the whole 金門 island is a huge piece of rock with very little top soil. It would not have supported forests of any size. And wood used in ship-building is not just any wood. There are different types of ships and each requires different materials. A search turns up this interesting reference: “...南林教授曾对南京明代宝船厂遗址出土的大量与造船有关的木材进行了鉴定,采集了236个出土朽木样品,其中有杉木、松木、柚木、格木、娑罗双树、 锥木、杯裂香、柿木8种树材。” In other words, these are all huge tall trees suitable for putting together large ocean-faring warships. In 金門? Probably only 相思樹 could grow, a recent photo is shown below:
The "trees" in Kinmoy
It is highly doubtful that such "trees" can be used to make ships of any kind.

A good guess is that Koxinga's soldiers probably did chop them down for firewood; however, it would have been quite easy to re-grow these bushes unless the residents of 金門 chose not to. Some scholars appear to cite a certain 金門縣志 of the Qing era with regard to the "deforestation". Given the 清史's dubious nature as far as 鄭成功 (in fact, 胡說八道nonsensical smears), this record is also questionable.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

The Cheng Map of China

In 2008, an old map was rediscovered in the Bodleian Library of Oxford University, after more than 350 years of neglect. It is now known as The Selden Map of China, named after its donor John Selden (1584-1654). The map appeared to have been made in ca 1624. After extensive restoration, it is now on display and also available on line, see:

Tonio Andrade has proposed in his book, "Lost Colony: the Untold Story of China's First Great Victory over the West" (2011 Princeton Univ Press), that the map might have been created by the Cheng Family, perhaps under the supervision of 鄭芝龍Cheng Zi-long (p 23). If true, then Selden's Map is actually the Cheng Map of China, 鄭芝龍航海圖.

Of particular interest are the markers denoting Taiwan which appears as two islands on the map. The one in the north 北港 might be the seaport of the same name in modern-day Yun-lin; although it could also be an ancient now disused name of Taiwan. In the south, 加里林 appeared to be the now 佳里 in Tainan. There are also several small islands off the north shore. They were probably Keelung or the 宮古群島. To the west of Taiwan was of course Hokkien with the major cities clearly marked out. 泉州 was the home base of the Cheng Clan.

Tomothy Brook in his "Mr. Selden's Map of China" (Bloomsbury Press, 2013) has suggested that the map "could have had impact on European cartographers" but didn't, for "by the time the map is on display in Oxford, it was too late to make any difference". How true.

Oddly, as far as the relationship between 鄭芝龍 and his mentor 李旦, Brook quoting from Andrade, as one of an unconfirmed homosexual nature. Much like the putative rape of Koxinga's mother Lady Weng, insinuating someone has been sexually violated is a traditional Chinese insult, a way of tarnishing his or her reputation. The official Qing history is fairly dubious in its claims when it comes to the Cheng Clan; unfortunately, the lies are still being perpetuated by students of this part of the history.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Penang delegation joins celebration in Tainan

Procession down 忠義路 to Cheng Family Temple (4/27/2014)
Cheng Family Temple
Looking directly at the statue of Koxinga

Banquet accompanied by traditional music
Delegates from Penang at 延平郡王祠 (4/29/2014)

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Cheng Clan visiting Koxinga Temple in Penang

Source: 世界鄭氏宗親總會
(The World Cheng's Clansmen General Association)

Friday, January 3, 2014

Chilling Royal Qing Records

This Nov 24, 1661, Qing royal order of Emperor 康熙 (1654-1722, reigned 1661/2 - 1722) recorded the death sentence of 鄭芝龍, his two sons 鄭世恩 and 鄭世蔭, and family. At the same time, 鄭芝豹 (鄭芝龍's brother) and his sons, who had surrendered to the Qing before the Koxinga revolt, were spared.

Earlier on May 17, 1657, Emperor 順治 (1638-1661, reigned 1644-1661) decreed that, instead of an immediate execution, 鄭芝龍 and family members be banished to and imprisoned in 寧古塔 (near present-day 黑龍江省牡丹江市). In addition, all family properties and holdings were to be confiscated. They were forced to travel on foot in yokes and chains all the way from Beijing to the destination (a distance of ca 1,440 km). Accompanying him in the prison was also a Franciscan priest originally from Macau where 鄭芝龍 was baptized.

For more, see here.