The origin and history of the Wu Hou Temple have been more than adequately covered in the other tips on these pages. I would like to highlight some minutiae that might have escaped the casual eye, and have included a photograph to illustrate each:
1. There is a "Drumming Figure" among the collection of artifacts that is particularly exuberant.
2. Out in the courtyard, there is a tree that had grown out from among the rocks.
3. There is a walkway with photogenic red walls capped by tiles, with bamboo crowning the sky.
4. There are friezes with interesting designs of dragons and mythical animals.
5. By one of the entrances, there is a hand-inlaid mosaic that just lies there in the busy street.
I hope these details will bring more depth to the Wu Hou Temple.
The Wuhou Shrine was combined with the temple of Liu Bei (161-223 A.D.), at the beginning of the Ming Dynasty in the 14th century. The current temple was rebuilt in 1672. Surrounded by old cypresses and classical red walls, the temple evokes nostalgia.
The main body of the temple is divided into five sections, the Gate, the second Gate, the Hall of Liu Bei, the corridor, and the Hall of Zhuge Liang, all of which run south to north. Inside, clay sculptures of Shu Emperor and ministers stand together, making them a special feature.
The most valuable cultural relic within the temple is the stele set up in 809. This huge stele 367-centimeter (144-inch) high and 95-centimeter (37-inch) wide is called the Triple-Success Stele. The three successes are: an article written by Pei Du, a famous minister of the Tang Dynasty who served four emperors in succession, calligraphy by Liu Gongquan, one of the most brilliant calligraphers in Chinese history, and a statement about the morality and achievements of Zhuge Liang.
Open: 06:30-20:00. Admission: Y60.
In the 14th Century, the Chinese writer Luo Guanzhong penned what was to become one of the world's great literary epics and a novel that was to become central to the psyche of the Chinese people: the Romance of the Three Kingdoms. It also propelled a number of the historical figures into Chinese legends, including Liu Bei, the 2nd Century Shu-Han emperor, his prime-minister Zhuge Liang and two faithful generals Zhang Fei and Guan Yu. All are commemorated at the Wuhou Shrine in Chengdu, which has become a focus for the memories of many Chinese people's dreams of government integrity. All these men, but especially Zhuge Liang are now revered by the Chinese, and it would be a brave person who attempted to remove the "romance" of the Three Kingdoms.
The shrine is split into two parts with the western part containing the tomb of Liu Bei and the eastern part the complex of halls devoted to these legendary men. It is, however, notable - an unusual in China - that although this is the burial place of an emperor, it is a commoner - Zhuge Liang or the Marquis of Wu - who is the main attraction. While an understanding of the Romance of the Three Kingdoms is not essential for enjoying the Wuhou Shrine, it certainly makes the visit more rewarding, but fortunately there is a lot of information in English.
The visit starts with the two famous stelae inside the main gate, one which dates from 809AD in the Tang Dynasty and one from 1547 in the Ming Dynasty, both beautifully carved and stating clearly the gracious and thankful words of the imperial court of these times. Chinese calligraphy is difficult for foreigners - especialy Westerners - to appreciate, but it is held in enormous regard by the Chinese, and the presence of important stele and inscriptions in the complex are a further sign of the importance of the commemoration of these 2nd Century soldiers and statesmen.
Behind the Hall of Liu Bei is the Kongming Hall, the main attraction of the complex, where Zhuge Liang is honoured (Kongming is another name for Zhuge Liang). Zhuge Liang rose from humble birth in Shandong province to be one of the greatest Chinese statesmen of all time, unencumbered by the trappings of the imperial court and scrupulously honest. He was a military genius and captured one of his enemies, Meng Hou, no less than seven times, each time releasing the deeply embarrassed opponent. For more than two decades he was at the centre of things in the Shu-Han court, proving himself no less able a civilian administrator.
Behind the Kongming Hall is a hall commemorating Zhang Fei and Guan Yu, the fearless and loyal generals of Liu Bei, but after the Kingming Hall it all seems a bit of an anti-climax.
The western part of the shrine consists of a small museum that presents an excellent bite-size overview of the life and times of the Han Dynasty. It is amusing, for me, to see a number of (presumably replica) Wei-Jin tomb bricks from the Jiayuguan tombs in Gansu. These are used to illustrate daily life in those times; it is slightly odd because the very different climate in the two areas means that one cannot draw realistic conclusions about life in Sichuan from social commentary from western Gansu!
Just past the museum is the entrance to the mausoleum of Liu Bei, a large circular mound surrounded by a path. There is a legend that three grave-robbers dug into the tomb one night only to discover Liu Bei, Zhang Fei and Guan Yu alive and well, playing chess and drinking wine. The three offered the would-be robbers some wine and a jade belt each, and sent them on their way. As they emerged from the hole, the robbers discovered that the jade belt was a writhing mass of poisonous snakes and the wine had turned into lacquer, sealing their lips shut. Since then, there have been no attempts to break into the tomb, and, I understand, even archaeologists are reluctant to disturb the site.
Behind a small gateway, lies the courtyard of the Hall of Liu Bei, and around the courtyard are statues of the 28 key generals and administrators of the time. Each is considered important to China, and the "avenue of greats" is interspersed with more calligraphy, including the famous Expedition Report which 12th Century Yue Fei composed after he read about the exploits of Zhuge Liang. For those interested, the main guidebook to the shrine has, unusually, translated many of the calligraphic inscriptions into English.
The Hall of Liu Bei presents a statue of the emperor himself, a man who dreamed of reunifying China. he sought counsel three times from the young Zhuge Liang, who eventually agreed to become prime-minister. Liu Bei was already accompanied and supported by two generals, Zhang Fei and Guan Yu - men who swore allegiance to each other as brothers, reputedly in this garden (but that would seem very unlikely) among the peach trees. The two general stand on either side of the room. Liu Bei managed to schieve his dreams but his victory was short-lived as he died just two years later, but not before getting Zhuge Liang to promise to take over as emperor should his son Liu Chan be a failure. Liu Chan did, indeed, turn out to be a failure and a coward, but Zhuge Liang never fulfilled his vow as he died on the battlefield in 234. While both Liu Bei and his grandson Liu Shen are remembered at the shrine, Liu Chan is not; the court and the people vowed to forget his cowardly behaviours.
This temple was build in the honor of Zhuge Liang, the famous military and political strategist of the Shu State in the Three Kongdoms period (221 - 589). The name of temple comes from the fact, that Zhuge LIang was conferred with the title of Wuxiang Hou - the duke of Quxiang). The temple was first build in the sixth century. It was adjacent to the Zhaoli Tempele, the memorial temple of Liu Bei, emperor of the Shu Han state. In early Ming Dynasty both temples were integrated into one.
Wuhou Si is a nice quite place with a lot of trees and flowers. In the beautiful garden you find a teahouse and a show of bonsai-trees.
Zhuge Liangs great personality, his dedicated service to others, and his outstanding intelligence place him above all emperors, generals, and ministers in history. A visit to the temple illuminates his status with the Chinese people. Yes, and when you learn Chinese at any university in China you'll read some of the legends, which have developed around this famous person.
Admission Fee: CNY 60
Opening Hours: 08:00 to 17:50
Bus Route: 14, 26, 53, 57, 213, 214
For those who have the romance of three kingdom, will probably enjoy this place alot. Heard that Korean and Japanese particularly like this place. The hall at the back has words written on the ceiling pillars, which are supposed to be the family motto.
Dedicated to the minister of war Zhuge Liang. The temple has beautiful gardens and buildings. I went in the late afternoon and it was so peaceful. There was hardly anybody about as it closes at 6pm. It's probably worth going in the evening. There is a really cool looking red corridor near the Tomb. The corridor is shaped like an 'S'. There is a nice tea house where we had a nice green tea. The temple is worth visiting and is also right at the top of the Tibetan wares street. So you can browse through Tibetan souveniers ....if you arn't going on to TIbet ;(
Zhuge Liang was a renowned general and statesman during the early Three Kingdoms period some 1,800 years ago. A shrine to his memory was built 400 years after he died, and rebuilt a thousand years later. It is situated in a charming park with a teahouse and an excellent bonsai collection.
WU HOU SHI - Wu Hou Memorial Temple.
Built in memory of Liu Bei, an highly respected emperor in the 3 Kingdom Period (220-280AD) & prime minister Zhu Ge Liang.
A must if you are familiar with Chinese history.
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