Friday, December 25, 2015

Cheng Zhi-Long honored in Tainan

Source: here
Koxinga's father, Cheng Zhi-long 鄭芝龍 (1604-1661), finally is honored in 鎮門宮. This temple overlooks 鹿耳門 (Lakjemuyse), where Koxinga's fleet sailed through at high tide into Taibay and quickly surrounded Ft Provincia (1661). This tiny temple has two bare-footed Dutchmen as its gate keepers, or door-gods (see a previous post, here).

For almost four hundred years, 鄭芝龍 has been portrayed by historians as a pirate and a traitor, a one-sided erroneous description that has persisted to this day. Within the Cheng Clan, Koxinga's falling out with his father over the loyalty to Ming Emperor was also a factor. In fact, in Tainan, the seat of power of the Ming Cheng Kingdom, memorial to 鄭芝龍 is nowhere to be found.

We now know that 鄭芝龍 was forced to yield, not by the military might of the Qing, but by a great famine at that time when it was no longer possible to maintain a sizable force without confiscating foodstuff from the general public. Not wishing to do that and after a life-time of fighting enemies from within and without China, he was truly tired looking forward to a peaceful resolution. Only he himself was detained at a meeting with Qing officials. And three of his sons and daughter-in-laws were later ordered to Beijing. All were put to death in 1661. After learning the demise of his father and brothers, a crestfallen Koxinga passed away soon after.

In this temple in Tainan, the father finally took his rightful place with his son Konxiga and his wife Lady Weng.

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