Travels in Sinshih
Religious centers and ceremonies
Sinshih Cultural Zone - Dongshi Beijidian
Dongshi (East end) was given this name, as it was located on the east side of Dashe settlement. Beijidian is one of the largest religious site in Sinshih District and occupy about 4000 Ping (13,223 square meters, or 142,333 square feet) of land. Numerous famous artisans were gathered to contribute to its design. Temple planning must strictly adhere to the symbol of Syuanwu (the black turtle) and would be located upon the Longwei meridian (dragon's tail) on Ma'an Mountain, giving the temple an elevated location to enhance its grandeur with tall towers and pavilions rising well above the ground, while first-rate geomancy and layouts ensure great prosperity and longevity of the locale. The porcelain image of Syuantian Shangdi (High Emperor of the Mysterious Heavens) crafted during the Cing Dynasty is seated in the main hall. The image of the High Emperor was meticulously made to provide a life-like and benevolent expression, making it one of the most symbolic artifacts of this Temple. Temple artifacts include a great cleansing censer manufactured during the reign of Cing Emperor Sianfeng. Cisingshihdeng (seven-starred stone lanterns) from Cuanzhou of Mainland China was also established at either side of the Temple courtyard. At the rear courtyard, the prime location of Syuanwu (the black turtle) is located under the old fig tree, and is used to rear sanctified animals such as snakes and turtles. The traditional gazebo serves as the guardian for the first Yusu Shihsiang Beiji Suantian Shangdi jhih Yin (the seal of the Yusu Shihsiang and High Emperor of the Mysterious Heavens in the North Pole) in Taiwan that is over 300 years old, which is colloquially known as the Shangdi Gongyin (Public Seal of the High Emperor). The external walls of this majestic temple are also decorated by wooden sculptures created by famous calligraphers in southern Taiwan. The masterfully written calligraphy proved to be extremely impressive and aweinspiring to many visitors. The footpaths around the temple provide walking and jogging trails. Beautiful groves and koi fishponds have also been constructed to provide the perfect center of faith and recreational destination for the local residents.
In 1999, Sinshih Township Office officially delegated the region as Sinshih Village Cultural Zone. In September of the same year, the Cultural Workshop of the Syuanwu Legend was established in order to collect and preserve cultural history and documents as well as artifacts associated with the Syuanwu (black turtle) symbol of Sinshih Township. The purpose is to promote righteous religious practice, uphold the sanctity of religious rites, and establish a positive religious culture. The temple has also recently established an exhibit area for archaeological findings, artifacts, and ancient agricultural produce.
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