20 June 2019

Visiting Anping: Mazu Temple and Anping Old Settlement Park

Last updated: February 2020

Grand Mazu Temple (Tianhou Palace)

Tianhou Palace is one of the four largest temples in Anping. According to records from the Qing dynasty, the temple was originally called "Tianfei Palace". It was originally located at the ferry in Anping Town (now Shimen Elementary School). During the Japanese rule, it was demolished and sold for some time. The temples of the community were not rebuilt until 1962 on the site of the Shui Shimen Gate in the Qing Dynasty. The original Tianfei Palace site monument is outside the fence on the north side of Shimen Elementary School.

The founding date of Anping’s opening of the Tianhou Palace was not seen in the Chronicles of the Qing Dynasty, and the earliest record of Anping’s opening of the Tianhou Palace is the “Fujian Tongzhi” from 1686. It was not until 1933 that it was explicitly written that it was built in 1668. In this regard, the scholars Li Xianzheng and Shi Wanshou supported the construction of Ming Zheng Zheng, while the scholars Lu Jiaxing and Cai Xianghui questioned whether Ming Zheng had a popular Mazu belief.

In the early days of the Qing Dynasty, Anping was prosperous because it was an important port, and the incense of Tianhou Palace was also prosperous. However, with the development of ports in other regions and the gradual accumulation of Anping Port, Anping gradually declined, and the incense of Tianhou Palace was also affected.

According to records of Anping literati Lin Yong interviewing Lao Lao, when the Japanese entered Anping in 1895, there were still Qing soldiers in the Tianhou Palace, which was later besieged by the Japanese, and only one escaped. Later, the Japanese army dug a pit behind the temple and buried the 56 killed. Later, it is said that there are often injustices appearing near the Tianhou Palace, sothe temple was gradually abandoned. In the early days of the Japanese rule, the Anping Tianhou Palace was regarded as an official home. It was managed by the Japanese Army Operations Department and used by the military police. When the military police withdrew, the Anping Post and Telecommunications Sub-branch was established in 1896. In 1900, Tianhou Palace served as the classroom of Anping Public School (the predecessor of Shimen Elementary School). Temple was demolished in 1918.
After the Second World War, local people hoped to rebuild the Tianhou Palace, which was rebuilt in 1962 after the Tainan Municipal Government granted permission to the former former Shimen Yamen of the Anping Castle. After that, the temple continued to expand and was completed around 1975. However, the fire broke out in 1990, but the three statues of Mazu survived.

The main building of the temple is a reinforced concrete soil structure constructed in 1962, with its northwest facing southeast. The roof of the Sanchuan Hall is the top of the double eaves and is covered with green glazed tiles, and a pair of stone lions are placed in front of the temple and at the entrance.
The Tianhou Palace sacrifice to the Heavenly Mother, together with the gods of Yanping County, King of the Five Narcissus, King of the Four Sea Dragons, Dou Yuanjun, Taisui Xingjun, Wenchang Emperor, and General Shi. The three mazu statues enshrined in the main hall are soft-body statues, about four feet high, combing the hair of Meizhou and holding three-inch golden lotuses. They have a peaceful appearance, and their forefoot is of the Song Dynasty type, which is quite precious.

Anping Old Settlement Historical Park

Anping's old settlement suddenly became one of the important symbols representing Anping. In order to further preserve and promote the settlement culture, a sculpture “Master (dressing)” by Chen Zhengxiong, a master sculptor, is set up in the garden. Its inspiration comes from the author's nostalgia for his parents, and he hopes to infect others with the peace and warmth of his parents' love. Therefore, the "Anping Old Settlement Historical Park" was opened with a view to integrating the local culture, environment, art and interesting garden of Anping.

1. No. 33號, Guosheng Rd, Anping District, Tainan City, 708
2. No. 32, Gubao Street, Anping District, Tainan City, 708

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