Tomb of General Yue Fei
Yue Fei (1103-1142) joined the Southern Song army at the age of 19 when the Nüzhen tribe, that later on formed the Jin Dynasty, invaded the Northern Song. When Yue Fei left home his mother inked on his back the now legendary words “Be loyal to the motherland”, the maxima he was loyal to even when executed as an innocent man. He was an outstanding soldier and was soon appointed general because of his skill and devotion to the Southern Song Dynasty and for years he was in charge of fighting off the forces of Jin.
The National Hero
The Nüzhen tribe captured the emperor of the Northern Song Dynasty and his father; the rest of the court fled to Hangzhou where the emperor’s son Gao Song founded the Southern Song Dynasty with Hangzhou as its capital. General Yue Fei succeeded in fighting the Jin Dynasty and was about to win the battle but instead of joy, the Emperor Gao Song felt threatened, because if General Fei had won, Gao Song would have to step down as emperor of the Song and his father would become the legitimate Emperor. General Fei and his armies were recalled to Hangzhou where he was accused by the Prime Minister, Qin Hui, and shortly after that poisoned, he died only 39 years old. Another general, Han Shizhong, asked Prime Minister Qin Hui what crime Yue Fei had committed and Qin Hui replied “Mo xu you” which means “Something quite possible”. Since then, “Mo xu you” is a synonym for false accusation in China.
It should last another twenty years until Yue Fei’ s name was cleared of those false accusations. A tomb and a shrine were built in 1221 at the southern foot of Qixia hill to honour this mighty man and commander. This is simply a must to see when you are visiting Hangzhou.
The scene of Yue Fei's tomb and General Yue's Temple is located at the southern foot of Qixia Hill. The present structure of the memorial temple and the tomb was formed in the later Qing Dynasty after a major rebuilding project.
The compound contains the tomb garden, the memorial temple of martyrdom, and the inspired loyalty temple.
Located in the western corner of the compound, the tomb garden faces eastward, and the two temples sit in the northern part and face the south.
The gate of General Yue's Memorial Temple faces the Yue Lake, one of the five sections of the West Lake. Between the tomb and temple compound and the Yue Lake stand a towering archway with the inscription of "Boundless Loyalty", displaying Chinese people's profound
admiration and respect to the patriotic hero.Entering the gate with double eaves, a patio with towering trees on both sides is found. The Shrine of Remembrance, the main hall, is right in the center. A sculpture of general Yue is set in the middle of the hall. He is in a colorful embroidered round cushion cover. Looking solemn and mighty, he has a sword in his hand and looks as if he is ready to protect his country. Over the sculpture is tablet in the original handwriting of Yue Fei, which states returning our territory and keeping it integrated. At the back of the hall are large pictures depicting Yue Fei's life stories. On the floor of the hall is a picture depicting 373 cranes. These cranes are the symbols of his integrity and faithful mind.
To the west of the main hall is a yard. There are two corridors exhibiting poems written to commend Yue Fei. Striding over the bridge in the middle of the yard, there are the tombs of Yue Fei and his son's. Yue Fei's tomb is right in the center, and to its left is the tomb of his son Yue Yun who had been a competent assistant of his father on the battlefields. Stone horses, tigers, and sheep of the Ming Dynasty (1386 - 1644) decorate both sides of the enclosure. This tomb, which had been destroyed several times, was rebuilt and possesses the features of the Song Dynasty. Facing the tomb are four iron sculptures, including Qin Kuai the chief plotter, in kneeling position. Concerning these sculptures, people wanted them to atone for their crime forever.
"The green hill is fortunate to be the burial ground of a loyal general; the white iron was innocent to be cast into the statues of traitors". Standing in front of the General Yue Fei's tomb which is under the state-level protection as a key cultural unit, Chinese visitors will compulsively feel an upsurge of emotion while reading the famous couplet on the gateposts of mausoleum. More than 800 years have passed since the year of Shaoxing 32 in the South Song Dynasty when emperor Xiaozong ordered in a royal decree to have Yue Fei reburied with state ceremony. The famous general led the resistance against the Jin invaders and could have won the war if he had not be betrayed. Yu Fei has been a national hero. Paying a visit to the Yue Fei's memorial temple and his tomb and reading aloud the clangorous lines in his poem named "The River All Red", one could feel the echoes of history. Yu Fei's heroic deeds and passionate feelings add a special beauty to the elegance of the West Lake.
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