Cheng Hoon Teng Temple (built 1645 onwards)
Cheng Hoon Teng temple was founded in 1645 by Lee Wei King and is the oldest functioning Chinese temple in Malaysia. The main hall was built by Chan Ki Lock in 1704 and was rebuilt in 1801 by Kapitan China Chua Su Cheong.
Nestled in a tight urban setting, the temple occupies 50,000 square feet. Inside the main hall on the central altar is a statue of Kuanyin, the goddess of Mercy. To her left is the Queen of the Oceans (Ma Choe Poh), the guardian of fishermen, sailors, and sea travelers. The final deity is Hiap Tian Tye Tai or Kuan Ti Yeh, the favorite deity of merchants and traders.
To the left of the main hall is an altar to Confucius. In the back are ancestral tablets of local Chinese and the "Kapitans China" of Melaka. "Kapitan China", which means "Captain of the Chinese" was a position created by the Portuguese to act as an administrator of the local Chinese community. Although the Portuguese are gone, the position remains. The founder of the temple, Li Wei King, was a Kapitan China and his portrait is enshrined in one of the back halls.
The temple was constructed by craftsmen using materials brought in from southern China.
All images 2005 Timothy M. Ciccone
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