Marine National Park Headquarters

 Print    Close 

As the ancestors arrived on the four islands of southern Penghu one after another, starting a new life resulted in the forming of settlements gradually throughout the time. During the Qing Dynasty, the settlements in the Penghu area were often referred to  "Oh() " where ships park or "settlement”(), a place where immigrants crowdedly gathered". Oh() was originally used to refer to natural harbors or bays where ships can park. However, these harbors in the Penghu Islands are almost equal to the gathering places of people, and Oh() has evolved into one of the names for settlements. Later, Oh was transformed into a unit of administrative divisions, such as towns and cities that we are familiar with now. In the Qing Dynasty in Taiwan, the settlement was often used to refer to the settlements of aboriginal peoples, such as the Anli settlement and the Dajiaxi settlement. However, in the Penghu area, it is the unit of Han Chinese villages, and the settlement is under the jurisdiction of Oh.

In 1771, "The Chronicle of Penghu-Geography " listed 13 Ohs and 75 companies in Penghu at that time. The number of settlements increased from 75 to 82 in 1862, including the Xijiyu settlement, Dongjiyu settlement, and Yuping settlement. It suggests that at that time, a certain scale of Han Chinese settlements had formed on the four islands of southern Penghu.



A bird's-eye view of the settlements of Xijiyu


Each settlement is usually composed of several "jiatou (甲頭)". Jiatou is a community organization that manages traditional sacrificial activities. It is usually distinguished by location or surname.  People under the same Jiatou are usually related by blood or living in neighboring areas. The members in Jiatou must share the rituals of the common temple, which is usually smaller than the villages in the current administrative divisions. The four southern islands also have a geographical division concept similar to Jiatou.


Due to the different topography of each island, different settlement textures are formed. These settlement textures also affect the names of small places within the settlements. First of all, a total of 11 Jiatous of Dongjiyu are roughly named after the relative direction to Qiming Temple and Banpazai (a gentle slope) including Banpazai, Banpazai Foot, Gujiao, Gong-bei(north to temple), Gong-hou (back to temple), Gong-nan(south to temple), Tianzi, Haiqian, and the South site, Shantouzai(top of the mountain), Hutou hill(tiger head hill). Banpazai refers to a gentle slope to the northeast of Dongjiyu Village. The area around Qiming Temple can be said to be the core area of ​​the settlement. There are also a considerable number of houses in both Haiqian and the South Site where were adjacent to the Dongji fishing port.

Most of the Jiatou is composed of more than 4 surnames, except for Hutou Hill, which is composed of Xie and Shan only. The Gong-hou is dominated by the three surnames of Lin, Xu, and Chen, and the Banpazai is a settlement where three surnames of Xu, Lin, and Zhong are gathered.

In addition, Qiming Temple, the main temple on Dongjiyu Island, had a ritual of setting up Five Forts by bamboo talisman in the 1990s. The location of Five Forts dictated by residents was chosen on the directions around settlements. The Northern Fort was located in Banpazai, the Southern Fort in front of the southern wharf and garbage landfill, the Eastern Fort by a well in Tianzi, and the Western Fort near the wharf. In the following decades, the Five Forts were not set until the Ghost Festival of Qiming Temple in 2019. They were located again near the former South Fort and were set up with bamboo talismans.



A view of the Five Forts at the Ghost festival of Qiming Temple in August 2019


The settlements on Xiji Island are all built on the south side of Yandun Mountain. There are a total of 3 Jiatou, namely Yandunjiao, Middle, and Lower Cuozi. Yandunjiao is a settlement built on the foot of the mountain, consisting of three tribesmen of Wu, Chen, and Lu. In the middle is the vast flat area from Yandunjiao to the coast. There are as many as 5 surnames, Chen, Lu, Xu, Wu, and Zhong. Xiacuozai is a Jiatou built along the southeast coast of Xiji, with the surnames Xu, Wu, Cai, and Yao.


Xiji Temple had set Five Forts when it was in Xiji even after it was moved to Magong. It is composed of the same bamboo talisman in Dongjiyu. Due to the government carry out the sewer project, forts settings were not possible.

In addition, there are two artificial ponds in the northeast of Xijiyu. One is fan-shaped, and the other is round (it was originally square according to the residents) and was named the Blessed pond. The content of the stone stele by the pond indicates the titles and names of "head of a family", "deputy head of a family", "chairman" and" deputy chairman" etc. The communities in Penghu all have "company", "committee", or "board of directors" of non-governmental autonomous organizations. The leaders and directors are the heads of the organizations, and they are also the heads of the local leaders. It can be seen that the Blessed pond was completed by the collaboration of different Jiatous on the island in 1948. The shapes of the square and fan-shaped pond are particularly taken the consideration in geomancy. It is hoped that it will bring "blessings to the land" on Xiji Island and has the functions of water storage and providing agricultural water.



The Monument of Blessed pond



The Blessed pond in the rainy season


The settlements of Dongyuping are mainly distinguished by the relative position of a sand trench on the island. A total of 5 Jiatou were divided into Goubei(north to trench), Gounan(south to trench), Goudong(east to trench), Xiacuozi, and Dongshi. The surnames of Goubei are more diverse with the dominant names Lu and Chen. Goudong only had one single surname of Lu. Xiacuozai is located from the south of the trench to the fishing port. It had the surnames Lv, Chen, and Zhu. It formed relatively late. From the early post-war period until the present, the area around the fishing port was still a large vacant lot where the residents dried their fish by sun. Dongshi with the surnames Lv and Chen is on the east side of Yuping Elementary School.

The distribution of wells in the Dongyuping settlement was actually based on Jiatou. Residents in Jiatou jointly dig wells as the source of water for the people’s livelihood in Jiatou. The 11 drinking water wells in the settlement are evenly distributed in 5 Jiatou.


Dongshi water well in Dongyuping


Pinggou water well in Dongyu


The Jiatou of Xiyuping settlement is roughly distinguished by the relative position to Xigou. The SanDing (the top of a mountain) is the first Jiatou located near the entrance of the port road to the mountain. It was composed of three surnames: Chen, Lu, and Cai.

Xigou is located to the northwest of the SanDing. It is named just because of its proximity to Xigou. Its member only had one surname of Lu. The Dongbeiwei (north-east tail) is located northeast of SanDing and was dominated by the two surnames Chen and Cai. As history evolved, the characteristics of Jiatou are no longer obvious due to the rapid decline in population. However, the residents on the island still use the name of Jiatou to refer to the community they belonged to.


 Land Lord Palace in Yangkougangzai, Xiyuping

Published: Jul 16,2021