Rituals at ancient temple commemorate Qian Family king
Worshiping Emperor Qian Liu, or Qianwang, on the 18th day of the first lunar month has been a tradition in Hangzhou for centuries.
Descendants of the Qian Family get together in the Qianwang Temple, hosting ancestral rituals to commemorate the king and promote the family's morality that's been handed down for generations.
The worshipping ritual comprises 10 procedures. First of all, 300 offspring strike the big bell 14 times, each gong standing for the capital Hangzhou and 13 cities of the Wuyue Kingdom (AD 907-978).
Five varieties of grains and three types of red meat are offered to the emperor like common royal rituals. Meanwhile, the holy water and holy soil from his birthplace in present-day Lin'an District are also presented in the ritual.
Burning incense is an indispensable part of the worship. It is a holy deed to show respect to the emperor and to pray for good luck for the upcoming new year. Then, the offspring read the funeral oration and sing the song eulogizing Qianwang.
Qianwang's family instructions are the highlight of the ritual. After establishing the Wuyue Kingdom, the emperor and his successors framed parental instructions that focus on education and see responsibility in preparing descendants to make contributions to society.
The family instructions have been carried down for generations. A number of preeminent people have descended from Qianwang's offspring, including Qian Xuesen, China's "father of space technology;" Qian Zhongshu, one of the greatest 20th-century scholars in China; and Qian Mu, a renowned scholar and writer, who collectively turned the Qian into an influential family in south China.
In modern-day China, people still laud Qian's family instructions, as they encourage people to cultivate their own moral character, build a happy family and bring benefits to others.
During the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms Period (AD 907-979), Wuyue's territory once spread across present-day Zhejiang Province, Shanghai, the southeastern part of Jiangsu Province, including Suzhou, and the northeastern part of Fujian Province.
The capital Hangzhou was built along the Qiantang River, which has the world's largest tidal bore with waves that travel up to 40 kilometers per hour and up to 9 meters high.
However, the ancient city suffered from the roaring waves. Qianwang and his successors built a hydraulic infrastructure and encouraged the development of local farming. They helped people cope with the roaring waves and eventually built their own "Great Wall" between the river and the city.
Today, high-rise buildings and landmarks along the Qiantang River light up with dynamic images. This area has already developed into the most prosperous district in Hangzhou.
According to historical archives, Qianwang kept the kingdom peaceful at a time when a large part of China was in turmoil.
While the Northern Song Dynasty (960-1127) established its imperial power in northern China, the Wuyue Kingdom thrived in southern China. Usually such powers would wage war against one another. However, the Wuyue peacefully paid allegiance to the Northern Song Dynasty, as Qianwang didn't want people to die needlessly.
The emperor also supported the handicraft industry. During the Wuyue Kingdom rule, Hangzhou's ceramic craftsmanship boomed. The ancient Yue Kiln in Zhejiang was the main celadon manufacturing center in history, and its productivity peak came during that period.
The emperor's efforts paid off, and Hangzhou made strides as trade developed. In a bid to commemorate the emperor, ancient Hangzhou citizens built the Qianwang Temple at West Lake in the year 1077.
Today, the temple is a popular scenic spot for visitors as it displays archives of the Qian Family, hosts floral exhibitions and hosts the annual ritual.
If people want to learn more about the emperor, the Qianwang Mausoleum in Lin'an District is highly recommended. Qianwang, his successors and the royal family are buried there. Original graves, stone statues, archways, tablets and some building foundations still remain inside the compound.