The Temple of Commander Yuan

The Temple of Commander Yuan (Yuan-dushimiao) was built in honor of the national hero Yuan Chonghuan (1584-1630) of the late Ming Dynasty. Yuan, born in Tengxian County, Guangxi, passed the imperial examinations in 1619 and became the executive officer of the Ministry of War. Responsible for leading repeated operations against enemy troops along the Great Wall, Yaun was promoted to Minister of War by the emperor in 1627. One story tells how he cut his finger open to write orders in blood, vowing to defend the border at all costs. Only three years later, the emperor had Commander Yuan executed at Ganshiqiao in Beijing for treason. One of his rival generals had sown discord among Ming court officials, and those who envied his successes had encouraged the emperor to be done away with him. His body was taken outside the Inner City Wall by a city guard and buried east of Wofosi Street where No. 59 Middle School is now located.

The guard tended his grave for the rest of his life, requesting his descendants to continue the practice for the next 300 years.

A temple in honor of Commander Yuan was later built on the north bank of East Longtan Lake, half a mile from his old residence "Zhang' s Garden," where his troops were once stationed. Destroyed by Kuomintang armies in 1948, the temple was rebuilt in 1984 on the anniversary of his 400th birthday. Five exhibition halls now detail his life struggle against the Qing armies. The following is his poem, Farewell Homeland:

It's sad to leave home for five years,
Battles are bitter and the saber cold.
I have devoted my life to the country,
Death I no longer fear.
I fight to take the land back,
But neither for self nor for promotion.
I continue to fight at the frontier
To win back my country' s land

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