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Liang Shanbo Temple
2016-09-07 17:26 Text Size: A A A

Liang Shanbo Temple, also called Liang Shengjun Temple, is located near Gaoqiao in Xixiang, Yin County, about 10 kilometers from downtown Ningbo. There is a saying among locals: “if you wish to keep your marriage to the end, visit Liang Shanbo Temple and your wish will be fulfilled.” On March 1 and August 17 in Chinese lunar calendar each year, many couples come visiting the temple.

The two folktale characters Liang Shanbo and Zhu Yingtai are household names in China. It is said that there are as many as seven tombs of Liang and Zhu across China, but there is only one Liang Shanbo Temple in China, which is based in Ningbo. Recorded in Memoir on the Temple of King Yizhong: “his sacred name is Churen, courtesy name Shanbo, surname Liang, and he is from Kuaiji, born on March 1 the year of Renzi in Yonghe Period of Emperor Mu of the Jin Dynasty…” Zhang Du of the Later Tang Dynasty said in his book Xuan Shi Zhi (A Collection of Short Stories): “Yingtai, a young woman from Zhu family in Shangyu, disguised as a young man to go to school and studied together with Liang Shanbo from Kuaiji. Shanbo’s courtesy name is Churen. Zhu returned home first and Shanbo visited her in the second year, till when he knew she is a woman and felt at loss. He asked her parents to marry her to him, but Zhu was already engaged to a man from a Ma family. Shanbo later became the governor of Mao County, and was buried in the west of the city after he died of illness. When Zhu was on the way to marry Ma, her boat passed the tomb where wind and wave became still. She was told there was the tomb of Shanbo. She landed on the tomb and burst into wild cry. Suddenly the earth opened and Zhu was also buried. The Prime Minister Xie An of the Jin Dynasty pled to the emperor to name the tomb “Grave of Loyal Woman”. Shanbo was entitled as “King Yizhong” (King of Alligence), because it was said that his ghost had helped to suppress insurgence. The above records show that Liang Shanbo and Zhu Yingtai, and the character Ma are not fictional.

In the last years of the Northern Song Dynasty, Li Maocheng, an official of Mingzhou, wrote an article recording in detail that Liang Shanbo was born on March 1; the given name of Zhu Yingtai was Zhen; Ma was from Langtou, Mao County; Zhu was married on August 16, 373, the first year of Ningkang Period of Emperor Xiaowu of Jin Dynasty, and the joint tomb is in Jiulongxu, Qingdaoyuan on the west of Mao County, etc. The prose written by Li Maocheng seven hundred years after the death of Liang and Zhu is more detailed than “Xuan Shi Zhi”, reflecting people’s strong opposition to feudal ethics and wishes to pursue a free and happy life.

    In Liang Shanbo Temple, the straight plaque hung on the main hall says “the Temple of King Yizhong”, inside the hall there is a sitting statue of Liang Shanbo wearing official hat and broad girdles, on whose right side sits the statue of Zhu Yingtai wearing wedding dress, and boy and girl servants are carrying loads of books and hampers on each side. The back hall is the sleeping chamber of Liang and Zhu, with delicate carved wooden bed, silk curtain, brocade quilts and necessities. Behind the hall is the tomb of Liang and Zhu, with a stone tablet with the inscribed characters of “Tomb of Liang Shanbo”.

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