Taipei Confucius Temple Dacheng Hall

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After passing through the Yimen Gate of the Taipei Confucius Temple, you come to the grand Dacheng (Great Success) Hall standing in the middle of an expansive stone courtyard. The Dacheng Hall is the main building of the temple, and is home to a spirit tablet of Confucius. As such, it is also the site of the annual ceremony celebrating the venerable sage which takes place every September.

The hall has a double-eave style roof and is surrounded by corridors on all four sides consisting of 42 gigantic columns made out of white stone from Quanzhou in Fujian Province.

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The two finely-carved coiled dragon pillars at the main entrance are widely considered to be masterpieces. The carvings are the work of craftsmen from Huian County in Quanzhou, and are done in a powerful and simple style that contrasts strongly with the ornate style used in most temples dedicated to Confucius.

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The two finely-carved coiled dragon pillars at the main entrance are widely considered to be masterpieces. The carvings are the work of craftsmen from Huian County in Quanzhou, and are done in a powerful and simple style that contrasts strongly with the ornate style used in most temples dedicated to Confucius.

Rising above the roof of the hall is a slim seven-story pagoda in the middle plus two cylinder-like objects on the swallow-tail eaves at both ends.

Apparently, the pagoda symbolizes the suppression of evil, while the two cylinders, which rise from the body of a sea-turtle and also feature a coiled dragon inside, are known as Tong Tian pillars and commemorate how scholars hid books in bamboo containers to prevent them from being burned by the Emperor Qin Shi Huang (秦始皇) of Terracotta Warriors fame.

It’s also said that the Song Dynasty scholar Zhu Xi (朱熹) put a Tong Tian pillar on the roof of the Quanzhou Confucius Temple to show his respect for the great sage and subsequently it became a tradition for all Confucius temples in Southern Fujian to have one. Given the close links between Fujian and Taiwan, it’s probably no big surprise that the Taipei Confucius Temple followed suit.

72 clay owls can also be found on the ridge of the roof, though the reason for the addition of these is unknown.

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In front of the hall is a stone-raised platform where the musicians stand and young boys dance the six-fold formation dance during the annual Confucius ceremony.

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In front of the stone-raised platform is the imperial road, on which is carved the cloud dragon, whose spirit is shown by a delicately-carved head.

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This ornate urn stands in front of the entrance to the hall, giving visitors a place to make their offerings and carry out their devotions with incense sticks.

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The Tablet of Confucius is placed in this altar in the center of the Dacheng Hall. Above it is a black tablet on which the former president Chiang Kai-shek wrote “Education for All” in gold.

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Inside the hall is an interesting collection of ancient musical instruments that are used to accompany the rituals during the Confucius ceremony.

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Inside the hall is an interesting collection of ancient musical instruments that are used to accompany the rituals during the Confucius ceremony.

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Overlooking everything is this very impressive interior ceiling.

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When walking around the exterior of the Dacheng Hall, don’t miss the splendid carvings under the eaves of the roof featuring a vibrant mix of mythological figures and beasts.

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When walking around the exterior of the Dacheng Hall, don’t miss the splendid carvings under the eaves of the roof featuring a vibrant mix of mythological figures and beasts.

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