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Temple to Avalokiteśvara-Guanyin and Temple to the Pact of Three at Upper Su [Family] Village (Shangsuzhuang Guanyin miao, Sanyi miao 上蘇莊觀音廟、三義廟) Taubes, Hannibal


Upper Su [Family] Village (Shangsu zhuang 上蘇莊) is located on a high moraine beneath a massive cliff outcropping of the Taihang Mountains 太行山, overlooking the plain of Yu County to the north. The village seems to be a conglomeration of two distinct walled settlements, a square fortress on the east and an irregularly-shaped addendum on the west. The gate is located at the northern junction of the two walled settlements. According to the plaque, this gate was built in 1543 by a “fortress headman in charge of construction” (guan gong buzhang 管工堡長) and members of the local li-jia 里甲 self-defense brigades. Just within this gate, facing north, is a small temple to Avalokiteśvara-Guanyin 觀音. The murals within are undated and of slightly unusual style, but are probably not earlier than the turn of the nineteenth century. The central (south) wall has a non-standard image of three Guanyins, perhaps echoing the trinities of the Buddhas of the Three Times (sanshi Fo 三世佛) or the Three Goddesses (san shengmu 三聖母). The two flanking walls have images of the Fifty Three Stations of Sudhānakumāra from the Gaṇḍavyūha Sūtra (Rufajie pin Shancai tongzi wushisan can 入法界品善財童子五十三參). The captions below are transcribed by Chen Pei’an 陳姵安: West wall, top row, left to right: 第一參南方勝樂國妙峯參德雲比丘, 第二參南方海門國參海雲比丘, 第三參南方楞伽道边參善住比丘, 第四參南方達里白界茶國自在城參弥伽大士, 第五參南方住林城參解脫長者, 第六參南方☐浮提畔摩利伽羅國參海幢比丘, 第七參南方海潮普莊嚴國泰休捨優婆夷, 第八參海潮那羅素國參毘日瞿沙仙人, 第九參南方伊薩沙那參勝热婆羅門; second row, left to right: [...], 第十一參南方三眼國參善見比丘, 第十二參南方名聞國參自在主童子, 第十三參南方海住大城參具足優婆夷, 第十四參南方大興城參明智居士, 第十五參南方師子宮城參法寶髻長者, 第十六參南方蕂根國普門城參善眼長者, 第十七參南方多羅幢城參無厭足王, 第十八參南方妙光城參大光王; bottom row, left to right: [...], 第二十參南方無量都薩羅☐城參行外道, 第二十一參南方廣大國參☐香長者名優鉢羅花, 第二十二參南方樓閣城參婆施羅船師, [...], 第二十四參南方☐那國☐☐☐林城參師☐☐申比丘尼, [...], 第二十六參南方菩度城鞞瑟月羅居士, 第二十七參南方補怛洛迦山參觀自在菩薩. East wall, top row, right to left: 第二十八參東方正趣菩薩妙藏世界普勝生佛國, 第二十九參南方墮買鉢底城參大天神四☐四手大水海, 第三十參南閻浮提摩竭提國菩提場中參安住主地神, 第三十一參摩竭提國迦昆買城參婆珊婆演底主夜神, 第三十二參摩竭提國菩提場中參普德淨光主夜神, 第三十三參菩提場右參喜目覌察眾生夜神, 第三十四參普棷眾生妙德夜神, 第三十五參 [...], 第三十六參菩提場如來會中參參守護一切眾生主夜神; second row, right to left: 第三十七參佛會中參開敷一切樹花主夜神, 第三十八參佛會中參大賴?精進力救護眾生夜神, 第三十九參嵐☐☐☐☐☐☐圓滿神, 第四十參迦昆羅城參釋迦瞿婆, 第四十一參摩耶夫人, 第四十二參天宮參☐☐☐光, [...], [...], [...]; bottom row, right to left: 第四十六參沃田城☐☐☐☐脫長者, 第四十七參妙月長者, 第四十八參出生城參無勝軍長者, ☐十九參城南 [...], 第五十參妙意花☐城參☐童子☐☐☐☐☐☐, [...], [...], [...]. On a bastion of the northern wall of the eastern fortress is a tower called the “Temple of the Pact of Three” (Sanyi miao 三義廟). This temple faces down the main north-south axial way of the town, and is faced at the southern end of the axis by a “Tower of the Mountain of Lights” (dengshan lou 燈山樓). The “Mountain of Lights” structure is used for lantern displays during the New Year’s festivities and rituals of the first lunar month. Temples of the Pact of Three, also called Temples of the Three Worthies (Sanxian miao 三賢廟), are shrines dedicated to the heroes of the Three Kingdoms cycle, Liu Bei 劉備, Lord Guan 關公, and Zhang Fei 張飛. Such temples were once widespread in the region, but this may be the only relatively intact example. For a description of such temples in adjacent counties, see Willem Grootaers, “Temples and History of Wanch’üan 萬全 [Chahar]: The Geographical Method Applied to Folklore.” Monumenta Serica, vol.13 (1948): 247-48. The temple and its images are undated, but a stele outside records its repair in 1809, and lists a painter named Lan Yu 蘭玉. This stele is reproduced at: Deng Qingping 鄧慶平 ed., Yuxian beiming jilu 蔚縣碑銘輯錄 (Guilin: Guangxi shifan daxue chubanshe, 2009), 482-83. The use of European-influenced perspective in the murals indicates that the paintings are unlikely to be from much earlier than this. The central (north) wall of the temple shows the three heroes in civil (wen 文) attire, with Liu Bei in imperial robes at the center. An attendant figure standing on one side holds an open book, on which is written a section from the compiler’s notes (fanli 凡例) of the 1679 Mao Zonggang 毛宗崗 / Mao Lun 毛綸 version of the Romance of the Three Kingdoms (Sanguo yanyi 三國演義) novel. The text in the mural is heavily damaged; I translate from the novel: 三、事有不可闕者,如關公秉燭達旦,管寧割席分坐,曹操分香賣履,于禁陵廟見畫,以至武侯夫人之才,康成侍兒之慧,鄧艾鳳兮之對,鍾會不汗之答,杜預《左傳》之癖,俗本皆刪而不錄。今悉依古本存之,使讀者得窺全豹。“Third, there are some events that should not have been left out [of the ‘vulgar version’ of novel], for instance Lord Guan waiting for dawn with a single candle, Guan Ning cutting up the mat and sitting apart from his friend, Cao Cao separating the incense and telling his wives to sell shoes, or Yu Jin seeing a mural in an ancestral temple. The vulgar version even omits and records nothing about the genius of the wife of the ‘martial duke’ Zhuge Liang, the wisdom of Kangcheng’s serving girls, Deng Ai’s retort about the phoenix, Zhong Hui’s quip about not sweating, or Du Yu’s addiction to the Zuo Commentary. Thus I have added these things in according to the ‘ancient version,’ in order to allow readers to ‘glimpse the whole leopard.’” Unusually among Three Kingdoms murals, the captions to the side-wall murals are almost all direct transcriptions of chapter titles from the Mao-version Romance novel: East wall, top row, left to right: 劉玄德三顧草蘆 (ch. 37) “Liu Xuande [= Liu Bei] thrice visits the thatched hut”; 諸葛亮火燒新野 (ch. 40) “Zhuge Liang burns Xinye”; 劉玄德攜民渡江 (ch. 41) “Liu Xuande leads his people across the river”; second row from top, left to right: 趙子龍單騎救主 (ch. 41) “Zhao Zilong rides alone to save his lord”; 張翼德大喝長板橋 (ch.42) “Zhang Yide [= Zhang Fei] greatly drinks [sic] at Changban bridge”; 諸葛亮舌戰帬儒 (ch. 43) “Zhuge Liang battles the assembled scholars with his tongue”; third row, left to right: 用奇謀孔明借箭 (ch.46) “Kongming [= Zhuge Liang] uses a scheme to borrow arrows”; 七星壇諸葛祭風 (ch.49) “Zhuge sacrifices to the winds at Seven-Star Altar”; 三江口周郎縱火 (ch. 49) “The Lad Zhou releases fire at the confluence of the three rivers”; bottom row, left to right: 華容道義釋曹德 (ch. 50) “Releasing Cao [Meng-]De on the Huarong Path”; 關雲長大戰黃忠 (ch. 53) “Guan Yunchang has a great battle with Huang Zhong”; 關雲長單刀赴會 (ch.66) “Guan Yunchang arrives at the meeting with a single blade.” West wall, top row, left to right: 劉皇叔洞房續佳偶 (ch. 54) “The imperial kinsman Liu [Bei] makes a worthy marriage match”; 孔明三氣周公瑾 (ch.56) “Kongming thrice angers Zhou Gongjin [= Zhou Yu]”; 柴桑☐☐☐喪 (ch. 57) “ [Three characters illegible] [Recumbent Dragon {= Zhuge Liang} attends] a funeral at Chaisang Confluence”; second row from top, right to left: 來陽縣龐統理事 (ch. 57) “Pang Tong governs at Laiyang County [sic]”; 趙雲截江奪阿斗 (ch.61) “Zhao Yun crosses the river to seize A Dou”; 落鳳坡鳳雛命終 (ch.63) “Fledgling-Phoenix ends his life at Fallen-Phoenix Slope”; third row, left to right: 張翼德義釋嚴顏 (ch. 63) “Zhang Yide righteously releases Yan Yan”; 孔明定計捉張任 (ch. 64) “Kongming makes a plot to capture Zhang Ren”; 馬超大戰葭萌關 (ch. 65) “Ma Zhao makes a great battle at Jiaming Pass”; bottom row, right to left: 雲長攻拔襄陽郡 (ch. 73) “Yunchang takes Xiangyang Prefecture”; 關雲長放水淹七軍 (ch. 74) “Guan Yunchang releases the waters to drown seven armies”; 關雲長刮骨療毒 (ch.75) “Guan Yunchang is cut to the bone and the poison is scraped out [by Hua Tuo].”

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