Dongsi Cheng Family Ancestral Shrine
Master Huai-Jen, the founder of the Cheng family at Nieyang in Jinsha Township, came from Zhangzhou in Fujian towards the end of the Ming Dynasty. The second generation moved to Dongsi and during the early years of Qing Emperor Qianlong's rule; the eldest, fourth eldest and fifth-eldest members of the third generation settled in Taiwan at Houlong, Miaoli. Cheng Chung-He later moved to Hsinchu City and his eldest son became a very successful businessman, while his second eldest son Cheng Yung-Hsi passed the local examinations in 1818 then the provincial magistrate examinations in 1823. These catapulted the Cheng family into fame and they became one of the major families in Hsinchu and even the whole of Taiwan. The Cheng Family Ancestral Shrine in Hsinchu was built in 1853 while the Dongsi Ancestral Shrine was built in 1948. According to family members at Dongsi, the family was quite small at the time and probably did not have the resources to build the ancestral shrine. Most of the funding probably came from their relatives in Hsinchu. This was an example of how traditional Chinese families remembered their ancestral roots and valued family bonds.
Most of the stone used for the Dongsi Cheng Family Ancestral Shrine was hard green granite. The pair of stone drums flanking the doorway, the pair of stone lions beneath the eaves, the stone base of the columns in the east and west galleries, the entire mirror wall and the meridian windows are all works of the sculptors' art in the way they combined boldness with subtlety.
Within the shrine itself, the carved wooden structures such as the beam frames, supports and arches are all fine examples of hollow carving. The upright ancestral niche in the middle of the main hall is not only finely carved but the dimensions conform to convention as well so were used as the template for other ancestral shrines on the island.
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