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Penghu is surrounded by the sea. Residents mostly rely on fisheries for their livelihoods. Fishermen work in the rough ocean and were watchful to the unpredictable situation from the open ocean all year round. They have prayed for the blessing of the gods to obtain the protection of life, property and the spiritual life. This is the reason why there are so many temples built in each village. Those temples are closely related to the lives of the residents. For all weddings, funerals, celebrations, and prayers, the temples are used as venues for activities.

The main beliefs in the temples of the four southern islands were different from each other. In the Qiming Palace of Dongjiyu, they mainly worship Lord Xu and Five Royal Lords. In Xijiyu, Lord Chih is the main god of Xiji Palace. The Lord Chih, Lord Xiao, and Mazu are the main god in the Chih Temple of Dongyuping. HuaNiang Temple in Xiyuping is the only temple worshipping the female God of Madame HuaNiang. Except for the Huaniang Temple in Xiyuping, the main temples on the other three islands are all regarded as Lord as the main belief. This indicated the close relationship between the belief of the Lord and the residents.

 

Qiming Palace in Dongji Village, commonly known as Dongji Temple, is located in the center of the settlement. The temple site was originally located on the site commonly known as Banpazi in Dongji Island. It was about 350 meters northeast of the current site where the water tower is built. The main worship is to Lord Xu, the Five Royal Lord, with the associated god of Lord Shi, Lord Zhou, Lord Yu, the Mother of Heaven, and the Shuixian zunwang (God of the sea to protect fishermen). There is a "Lord Boat" in the town hall to protect the temple.

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 Qiming Palace

 

 

Among the gods, the Lord Zhou was invited from the Dongan Village of Wangan Township by the family of Xu. The Lord of Yu Temple was originally a local people in Dongji who was promoted to god as a Lord.

 

Although the original construction date of Qiming Palace is unknown, the evolution of history still could be tracked based on the signature date of the cultural relics in the temple. The plaque which was written with "Sacred Ji in the High Mountains" is now hanging in the Sanchuan Hall. The first signature is November (in the Chinese calendar) of Wuchen in Jiaqing Year and the next signature is with “Contributions of all the disciples who repaired the temple in Rinchen of Tongzhi Year". The "Jiaqing Wuchen Year" is equivalent to 1808 and the "Tongzhi Renshen Year" is 1872.

The plaque is with the signature with “Two Officials of Heaven (it means that Venus appears in the dawn and in the dusk.) The following signature means “February (Chinese calendar) of XinWei in Jiaqing Year”. The following signature is “Best Respects of Chen Yuancheng to the Contribution for temple repairing.” The Xinwei of Jiaqing Year is equivalent to 1811 and the Renshen of Tongzhi Year is 1872. The couplet of the shrine was with the first writing with帝命欽承聲靈光海表(it means: honorably taken the emperor order to spread the blessing to the residents overseas) and the following writing with 王威廣播赫濯庇澎中(It means: Spreading the Lord prestige blesses fishermen in Penghu.) The signature means “a good day of Wuchen in Jiaqing Year". The Wuchen of Jiaqing Year is 1808. The following one means as “Respects of the disciple Lin Fahe to the contribution in temple repairing”. Based on this, it is indicated that the Qiming Palace was likely established no later than 1808. Those villagers working as boatmen had carried out renovations in 1872.

 

In addition, the plaque of Qiming Palace hanging above the Sanchuan Gate (三川門) has the first signature with the meaning as “a good day of March (in the Chinese calendar) in Gengwu Year” and the following signature as “Hearty Thanks of Disciple Xu Yao". On the plaque of the main hall in Daitianfu, the first signature means "a good day in February (in the Chinese calendar) in Gengwu Year", and the next signature is "Hearty Thanks of Chen Yuanxiang ". The Gengwu Year is 1930. The plaques of the Sanchuan Hall with the writing of "The power of mighty God dominate all over the world", "Strongly Dominate all around" and "The Majestic Heroic Spirit" are all dated back to 1946. It can be seen that Qiming Palace was repaired in 1930 and 1946 and was rebuilt in 1972. This reconstruction was designed and carried out by the wooden structure architect Ye Genzhuang in Penghu. Today, the front pavilion, front hall, and hall of worship can still be seen in the wooden structure of the “Zhuang Master” (the honor title of Ye Genzhuang in the traditional wooden architecture). The Renovation was carried out in 2000, and the shrine was renovated in 2017. In the same year, the ceremony in welcoming God back to the temple was completed one day before Ghost Festival Purdue (August 25).

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Shrine of Main Hall in Qiming Palace in Dongji

 

Due to the massive immigration of Dongji village, the overseas villagers decided to raise money to build a kaohsiung-Penghu branch palace of Qiming Palace of Dongji near the fishing port in Qianzhen of Kaohsiung City In 1984. In 1990, the God was welcomed to Kaohsiung and worshipped by residents who lived in Taiwan. Later, the original statue of Chitose in Wufu was welcomed back to the main temple of Dongji. Kaohsiung-Penghu branch Qiming Palace of Dongji also has statues of gods. Under the condition of an old house, the temple was found to leak on a rainy day in 2003. Chairman Chen Wensheng and others rushed to purchase the land in Wujia, Fengshan City, Kaohsiung County. They hired wood structure master architect Ye Genzhuang to build a new temple which became the belief center of Dongji’s immigrants. It was later renamed as the penghu Dongji Qiming Palace. In addition to the original god of Qiming Palace of Dongji in Penghu, the villagers also welcome Lord WanShan of Gongma Temple in Dongji Island, Madame Mom, and Madame Aunt from Madame temple to Qiming Palace in Dongji, Penghu.

 

Note:

Ye Genzhuang, born in Magong in Penghu, was a master architect in the wood structure. He started to learn woodwork when he was 18 years old. He had designed and built nearly a hundred temples. Among them, the Pingchifu Temple in Dongyu was built by Ye Genzhuang with his master Ye Delin. The Huaniang Temple in Xiyuping, Qiming Temple in Dongji, and branch temple in Kaohsiung were all completed by himself. After Ye Genzhuang was nominated with an honorary title as a National Treasure, he was unfortunately killed in the Trans-Asia Airways crash in 2014.

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