The Temple of Guan Yu

On July 25, 2011, in Beijing, Historical Relics, Temples, by Jack Li

The Temple of Guan Yu was built in memory of General Guan Yu of the Three Kingdoms Period (AD 220-280). Guan was very famous for his loyalty and bravery. He helped Liu Bei, the master of the Shu Force establish a strong kingdom in the southwest of China, known nowadays as the Sichuan Province. It is said that once the Shu Force was completely defeated by another force at that time, the Wei Force, and Liu’s family, including his son and heir, was captured by the enemy. Although Liu had given up rescuing his family members, Guan did not follow his order. He realized that Liu had decided to sacrifice his family for the sake of the whole force. He dashed into the enemy camp and rescued Liu’s family all by himself. On their way back to the Shu Force, the enemy tried to stop them. So Guan killed six senior generals of the enemy. The warriors of the Wei Force became afraid and let Guan go. The master of the Wei Force exclaimed, “I would give all my generals away in exchange for Guan!”

After Guan died, he was honored as the God of War in the folk tales. There are many memorial temples of Guan throughout China, which is a sign of his popularity among the Chinese people. The Temple of Guan Yu beside the Great Wall at Juyongguan Pass was built in the Ming Dynasty. Apart from Guan Yu, people also honor other famous generals of his time, such as Zhao Yun and Zhang Fei. The statue of Guan’s father and wife are also placed in the temple. Because the Great Wall used to be part of the defense system, people built the Temple of Guan Yu, the God of War, to worship him. They hoped that all the warriors would be as brave and loyal as Guan was and drive away the intruders from the north. It is true that in most of the battles that had taken place at the Great Wall, the Chinese force won. Maybe Guan is still helping.

The Great Wall at Juyongguan Pass

Jack Li
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