Jinghai Temple (built 1416, rebuilt thereafter)
Jinghai Temple (Temple of the Calm Sea) was built in 1416 by the Yongle emperor to honor Zhenghe, an eunuch and envoy of the emperor who undertook a series of seven sea voyages to India and as far west as the east coast of Africa. The temple was dedicated to the Goddess of the Sea, Tianfei. This is the same goddess that is so popular in Hong Kong, known as Tin Hau. Tin Hau and Tianfei are both titles granted bestowed by the emperor on the same young woman from Fujian province who was credited with miraculous rescues of sailors at sea.
At its height it was one of the largest and most grandiose temples in Nanjing. Following the defeat of the Qing forces in the first Opium War, on August 29, 1842 the British ship, Cornwallis, anchored on the Yangtze River just west of Jinghai Temple was the site where the first of the �unequal treaties� was signed. After the Taiping Rebellion, the Republican Period, and the destruction during the Cultural Revolution, the temple had largely disappeared. A reconstruction was built on this site in 1987 and expanded in 1996. It is the site of a museum of the Nanjing Treaty. During 1996, prior to the return of Hong Kong to China this museum was the site of large nationalistic gatherings. Today the museum occupies only 15% of the site the Jinghai Temple once occupied. The only part of the original temple which survives today is the stele establishing the temple which was written by the Yongle emperor, himself.
In addition, the museum is built next to a large rock outcropping known as Sansuyan (Three Night Crag). This is where the Southern Song general, Yu Yunwen, moored his fleet for three nights on his return trip after defeating a Jin army in Anhui province.
All images copyright 2001 Professor Kerk L. Phillips of Brigham Young University, Utah, USA
Boyd, Andrew. Chinese Architecture and Town Planning: 1500 B.C. - A.D. 1911
Holmesdale Press Ltd, 1962. London
Visit Kerk L. Phillips' website at http://temple.pomosa.com/