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Temple of General Yue Fei, Hangzhou

Temple of General Yue Fei, Hangzhou
Temple of General Yue Fei, Hangzhou

This temple at the northern end of the Sudi Causeway on West Lake was built in 1221 in honor of General Yue Fei (1103-42). Although the General had successfully repelled several Tartar raids the emperor and chancellor accused him of high treason and sentenced him to death. He was hanged together with his son Yue Yun. After his rehabilitation in 1163 two tombs were built to the west of where the temple now stands, and the bodies were reentered there. A statue of the General stands in the temple hall, the ceiling of which is decorated with cranes, a symbol of immortality. The temple also contains 86 stone plaques on which the Song Emperor Gaozong (1107-87) and his wife engraved classical texts by Confucius. The most valuable treasure, however, is a stone celestial globe showing many of the constellations, which dates from the time of the Five Dynasties (907-960) but was not rediscovered until 1956. It is thought to be the oldest stellar map in the world. The road leading to the tombs to the west of the temple is lined with stone figures of important officials, tigers, sheep and horses. In front of the tombs are wrought-iron statues of the persons who were responsible for passing judgment on the General, the chancellor, his wife and two high officials; these are all kow-towing. In the two corridors visitors can admire 125 stelae engraved with poems by the General and inscriptions by many famous personages praising his achievements.
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