Monday, April 23, 2012

General Yue Fei Temple, West Lake, Hangzhou, China

The Yue Fei Temple or commonly known in Chinese as Yuewang Temple (岳王廟) is a temple built in honor of Yue Fei, a general of the Southern Song dynasty when the capital of China was in Hangzhou.  The site is on the north shore of West Lake in Hangzhou.  Yue Fei (1103 – 1142), is best known for leading the defense of Southern Song against invaders from the Jurchen-ruled Jin Dynasty in northern China, before being put to death by the Southern Song government.  Widely seen as a patriot and national hero in China, since after his death, Yue Fei has evolved into a standard epitome of loyalty in Chinese culture. 

For their part in Yue's death, iron statues (see photo) of Qin Hui, Lady Wang, and two of Qin's subordinates, Moqi Xie and Zhang Jun, were made to kneel before Yue Fei's tomb.  For centuries, these statues have been cursed, spat and urinated upon by people. The original castings in bronze were damaged, but later were replaced by images cast in iron, but these were similarly damaged. However now, in modern times, these statues are protected as historical relics.

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