Monday, October 29, 2012

Temples Of Dog (十八王公廟)

Taiwanese “temple of dog” also called “18 Wang Kung Temple”. There are three similar eighteen Wang Kung Temple in Taiwan.


·         The 18 Wang Kung Temple in Kaohsiung

·         The Chiayi loyalty 19 Kung Temple

·         The famous 18 Wang Kung Temple of Taipei Shimen province


In Kaohsiung "Eighteen Wang Kung Temple" has a long history; it is built since the period of Qing Emperor Kangxi, about three hundred years ago. Story has it that during the year of Qing emperor Kangxi 23 years (1684), a strong typhoon caused a shipwreck, the crews were all drowned. This unfortunate incident was later discovered by other fishermen, and 18 bodies were subsequently found on the coast. The bodies were buried, and a small ancestral hall was built to worship the deceased.


The "loyalty nineteen Kung Temple” of Chiayi City, also known as" Loyal Dog Temple” is one of the few Taiwanese temples where a dog is worshipped.



The story has it that during the Qianlong year, notorious bandit Lin Shuang-wen attacked a military camp Tsai Lin Zhuang, outside Chiayi. There were only 18 guarding soldiers so they were no match for Lin Shuang-wen’s army. Consequently all the soldiers were killed in the battle. A dog kept by one of the soldier ran to Chiayi and barking fiercely. The soldiers guarding Chiayi city recognized it was the dog of Tsai Lin soldiers. Reinforcement soldiers were immediately dispatched to the rescue. But it was too late; all of the 18 soldiers were all killed. At the same time, the dog also died of exhaustion. It was after the Qing court has managed to put things back to order that the eighteen martyred soldiers and the dog were buried in a mass grave; they are all honorably called the "nineteen generals", a temple was hence built to worship them. They are collectively referred to as the "Temple of the 19 loyal generals".


The origin of “18 Wang Kung Temple” in Shihmen Township, Taipei also related to a shipwreck where crews of 17 were drowned, only a dog survived. After the villagers buried all of the 17 bodies, this dog refused to eat or drink all day for several days seemingly mourned for the dead, finally the dog also succumbed on the grave. Consequently the villagers decided to bury the dog and 17 corpses together. A temple called "Eighteen Wang Kung Temple" was also built to commemorate the loyalty of the dog.


A very unique aspect of "Eighteen Wang Kung Temples” is that the activities in the temples become livelier later into the night. I bet that you will not find a dog being worshipped as the main deity of a temple anywhere in this world!



臺灣有三間類似的“十八王公廟”。其一是高雄的“十八王公廟”, 其二是嘉義的“忠義十九公廟”, 以及聞名全省的臺北石門“十八王公廟”。


位于高雄的“十八王公廟“歷史悠久,建于清康熙年間, 約有三百年的歷史。話說清康二十三年(1684年), 有一艘漁船被臺風吹翻后沉船,船員悉數罹難。這件不幸的海難被其他的漁民發現,并在海岸上尋獲十八具尸體。漁民后來把他們合葬,并蓋了一間小祠堂加以祭祀。









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