The apse is the last entrance hall on the central axis. The spatial form of the apse of most temples is the same as that of the main hall, but the building scale is smaller than the main hall. It is a place for worshiping gods. Doumu Palace has no apse, only an octagonal tower dedicated to the Nine Emperors. This tower is not a place to worship gods, but a place to worship the main god. The pagoda is a very Buddhist building. It is used by folk religions to express a mysterious and sacred atmosphere, and is also used to suppress Feng Shui. It is very suitable to use it in Doumu Palace as a place of worship for the Nine Emperor Gods. The building is two stories high and has an octagonal plan. Although it resembles a tower in appearance, it does not meet the specifications of a tower with an odd number of floors. It would be more accurate to call it a “building”. The folks call it “Bagua Tower” based on its octagonal shape.
There is a red and white gourd on the roof of the octagonal building. The octagonal cornices are decorated with vertical water grass patterns, and there is a circle of cement guardrails around the second floor. The roof of the building is still made of red tiles that the people of southern Fujian make good use of.
Most of the temples dedicated to the Nine Emperors, especially the places where the Nine Emperors incense burners are placed, are heavily guarded and outsiders are not allowed to enter or exit at will. This is also consistent with the private nature of the Hongmen Society. Dou Mu Temple in Hougang built an “octagonal tower” behind the main hall to house the incense burner and tablets of the Nine Emperor Gods. From the outside, it is clear at a glance; but if you want to enter from the inside, it is not so easy.
There are two narrow side doors behind the shrine in the main hall, which are very hidden and difficult to be discovered. The iron door is usually locked, but only during festivals, when directors are fasting, bathing and wearing plain clothes, they can open the door and go upstairs to pay respect to the Nine Emperor Incense Burner. And women are not allowed to enter at any time. These traditions and taboos have been strictly enforced, and it is believed that any disrespectful or unclean behavior will offend the Nine Emperor Gods and punish others. The majesty of the Nine Emperors exerts awe-inspiring power in various legends.
Entering the side door is the first floor of the octagonal building, which is currently only used for storage. A wooden staircase is connected to the second floor. A wooden door on the staircase is still guarded by the “Iron General” door lock. There is a dim yellow light on the door. Its lighting function is not obvious, and it only illuminates a mysterious place.
The second floor of the Octagonal Building is where the mysterious Nine Emperors incense burner and tablets are located. It is said that during the celebrations in the past, male believers received blessings from Taoist priests and had their seals stamped on the second floor. Now, the octagonal building has completely become a place for enshrining the incense burner, and all ceremonies have been moved to the open space in front of the temple. Many people don’t know what’s on the second floor. Let’s keep the mystery of the Octagon Tower alive. Although the gang no longer exists, the belief continues, and the folk customs are still spread… Like you, I can only feel the sacredness and sanctity of the Nine Emperors Temple in my imagination majesty.