Shanhou Folk Culture Village山后民俗文化村
Shanhou Folk Culture Village is located at Jinsha township, on the side east of Kinmen island. It was built by Wang Guo-jhen and his son Wang Jing-siang, who co-sponsored the construction after getting wealthy through business in Japan. The construction took about 24 years during the Ching dynasty form 1876 to 1900. After completion, the Wang father and son presented the houses to the whole clan to live in gratis.(1) The Village is Fujian-style, consisting of 18 houses with two wings, and they are also called the "Shanhou 18 Residences," i.e.,(2) 16 grand houses, one ancestral hall,(3) and a private school.
Most buildings of the Folk Culture Village are houses with two wings with swallow-tail shaped roofs, with a few exceptions of saddleback(4) shape. Nevertheless, all of the houses are arrayed in conformity.(5) The walls of the houses are decorated with colorful exquisite(6) bricks and ceramics that show the traditional culture of the village. In addition, Shanhou is located below Wuhu Mountain (literally "Five Tigers Mountain"), and is described as the "reversing(7) head of the 5 tigers". By the side of the Wang Family Ancestral Hall, there is a "dragon's cave" where it is said lived a dragon with an invisible tail. According to legend, one of the huge rocks sticking out of the ancestral hall is said to be the head of the dragon that can protect the younger generations. So Shanhou is one of the best places for sightseeing as well as for studying traditional houses and culture in Kinmen.
Tourist: How long did it take to build the old houses here?
Tour Guide: About 24 years.
Tourist: Why did it take so long?
Tour Guide: Because the main building materials came from Jhangjhou, Ciyuanjhou of Fujian Province, and even from Jiangsi Province of mainland China. In those early days the traffic and transportation were not so convenient between Kinmen and the mainland; therefore, the construction took a long time.
Tourist: So that's it. Here is a characteristic old house, with a pond in front of it.
Tour Guide: Yes, it was a private school called "Hai Jhu Hall," and the pond in front is called "Half Moon Pond". The school faces the eastern direction, and in the distant foreground(8) is the sea. From here you can see the sun rise every morning, just like a bright pearl floating in the sea, so the hall is called "Hai Jhu Hall,"-the Sea Pearl Hall.
Tourist: That's interesting. But didn't the houses get hit or damaged during the battles?
Tour Guide: Yes, they did. Flames of war plus long exposure to the sun and sea wind badly damaged the old houses. Therefore, Kinmen County Government spent a lot of money to renovate(9) them in 1979. The renovation included setting up an antiquities hall, a ceremony hall, a wedding hall, a martial arts hall and so on, all providing exhibitions for tourists.
Tourist: That's why the houses are kept so well.
Tour Guide: Yes. By the way, there is an old saying which goes "Iou Shanhou Fwu, Wu Shanhou Cwu." It means that in Kinmen though one is as rich as the people of Shanhou, one has no house as elegant as those in Shanhou. So this proverb highly values these grand and elegant houses in Shanhou.
Tourist: Without a doubt.
Tour Guide: Besides those, the village contains other houses with traditional beauty of architecture; therefore, it is often used for shooting domestic films or TV shows. You can take many pictures around here.
Tourist: I will. Please let me do that later on.
■2. i.e.-是拉丁文id est的縮寫﹐指「即﹔換言之」。
■3. ancestral hall-宗祠。其中ancestral是形容詞﹐指「祖先的﹑祖傳的」。
■5. conformity-(n)一致﹑相似或順從。通常in conformity with～﹐指「與～一致」。