Qiu Liang-gong Mother Chastity Arch邱良功母節孝坊


Qiu Liang-gong Mother Chastity Arch, briefly called the "Chastity Arch,"(1) is located in Jincheng Town and is the only first-class national historic relic in Kinmen. It was built in 1812, during the Qing dynasty. The raw materials used for the arch are Quanzhou granite from Fujian (known as Quanzhou White) and blackish(2) green Qingdou Rock (also Grass Rock), and the carving is very exquisite.(3) The arch is about three stories high. It is one of the highest and the most magnificent arches in the Taiwan and Fujian area. Because of its height and to prevent it from shaking too hard, stationed by the pillars there are four pairs of stone lions to stabilize the arch.

The arch is to commemorate Madam Xu-Shi, the mother of Governor Qiu Liang- gong of Zhejiang Province in the Qing dynasty, for her maintaining chastity for 28 years during her widowhood.(4) When Qiu Liang-gong had lived for only 35 days, his father died. His mother endured all kinds of hardships and raised him to adulthood. Finally he became an excellent government official and contributed a great deal to his country. Madam Xu-Shi's great deeds won the praise of the Emperor, who gave an imperial decree(5) to build the arch.

Tourist: The arch is very high and magnificent. It's much bigger than the Qionglin Arch (the Three widows Chastity Arch).

Tour Guide: You are right. This is one of the most magnificent arches in Taiwan and Fujian. It's also the only arch graded as a first-class national historic relic in Kinmen.

Tourist: Does it have any special stories?

Tour Guide: It's said that out of the eight stone lions in front of the arch, the one right in the middle used to display its power, representing Madam Xu-Shi's reincarnation;(6) therefore, this lion is also called the "Goddess the Stone Lion". Furthermore, the lion is considered particularly powerful due to its ceaseless exposure to sunlight and moonlight, so that local residents keep on worshipping it as a deity.(7) One other special thing is that some soldiers drew a grenade(8) on the lion when repainting it, thus the grenade is thought of as symbol of luck.
Tourist: How amazing it is that the statue of traditional history has been painted with a modern grenade.

Tour Guide: By the way, the arch was built under the decree of the Emperor. So it is historically significant.

Tourist: I must say that the arch isn't just historical, but architecturally speaking, it is a masterpiece of exquisite art.

Tour Guide: Surely it is. Besides that, there is a street called "Mofan Street," also called "ZiQiang Street," by the side of the arch. The street shows a mixture of Japanese style and Southern Fujian style architecture. It's one of most characteristic old streets in Kinmen. You should take your time to visit there. Moreover, the arch is situated at the site of a traditional market. At the market, many local specialties of Kinmen are sold. You can go and try them.

Tourist: Can you recommend some of the market specialties?

Tour Guide: Yes, the most flavorful and juicy ones are fried oyster omelets,(9) sesame balls, fried salty pancakes,(10) egg rolls, and so on. In the morning, they sell Canton porridge, baked flat bread, and deep-fried twisted dough that you just can't miss.

Tourist: Sounds good, and I am starving. I can't wait for a snack. Will you join me?

■1. Chastity Arch-節孝坊,此處,chastity是貞節,禁慾、獨身生活,純潔、正派的意思;arch指拱門、牌樓。
■2. blackish-(adj.)呈現黑色的。
■3. exquisite-(adj.)精美、精緻的,製作精良的。
■4. widowhood-(n)守寡;寡婦的身份。
■5. decree-(n)命令;法令;教令。imperial decree字面上的意思就是皇帝的命令,即「聖旨」。
■6. reincarnation-(n)化身;轉世。
■7. deity-(n)神;女神。
■8. grenade-(n)手榴彈。
■9. omelet-(n)煎蛋餅;煎蛋捲。此處係沿用台灣對「蚵仔煎」的英語翻譯oyster omelet來形容金門的炸蚵粿(油炸的蚵仔煎)。
■10. pancake-(n)薄煎餅,鬆餅。此處以鬆餅來形容金門的鹹粿炸(油炸的、鹹的鬆餅)。


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