Main Hall Altar
【Arrangement of Gods】
Guangze Zunwang（923-938）is the folk deity of Nan'an county, one of the three counties of Quanzhou prefecture in Fujian, China. He is also known as the “Bao'an Zunwang” and “Bao'an Guangze Zunwang”. Also commonly known as “Lord Guo”, “Sage Duke Guo”, “Sage King Guo”, “The King who crosses his legs”, “Holy Sage King” and so on. According to legend, Guangze Zunwang's surname was Guo, and his actual name was Zhongfu. He is the eleventh-generation descendant of the famous Tang dynasty General Guo Ziyi. In the early years of Tongguang reign during the Later Tang dynasty, he was born in Penglai Chongshanli at the foot of Mount Shi Paishan in Anxi county. When he was young, he worked as a cowherd. Later on, a Fengshui master taught him the art of Fengshui and he moved to Shishan to cultivate his skills. At the age of sixteen, he sat on an ancient vine and transformed into a god. According to historical records, after Guangze Zunwang transformed into a deity, he possessed a lot of divine powers and would always grant the wishes of devotees. Doing many benevolent deeds and granting blessings to believers, he also used his divine powers to help country in times the war, rendering meritorious service to the Imperial Court. From the Song dynasty to the Qing dynasty, he was conferred titles of honour at least six times by the Imperial Court.
Lord superior Wen Chang
He is a Taoist deity in Chinese mythology, known as the God of Culture and Literature. He is also at times referred to simply as Wen Qu, or Wen. The literal translation of his name would be King of Flourishing(昌) Culture/Language(文). Wenchang is physically represented by a constellation of six star near the Big Dipper. He has historically been called upon by scholars and writers who need inspiration or help right before an exam. In Taoism, he’s well-known in giving blessings to people who are attending any form of examinations or testings. There are quite a number of Rituals being practised or performed on Wen Chang’s Manifestation Anniversary—Blessing for little kids who going to start their initial schooling or those who are not that good in their studies, etc.
Marshal of the Central Altar
Marshal of the Central Altar or Zhongtan Yuanshuai, more commonly known as the Grand Prince (太子爷 or Taiziye) or the Third Prince (三太子 or San Taizi), is believed to be Prince Nezha (哪吒太子) of Li Jing (李靖), the Pagoda-Bearing Heavenly King (托塔天王). Both Li Jing and Nezha are sinicized from the Indian mythology.
Legend has it that Nezha was the Divine General who drove the Jade Emperor's carriage. According to Canonization of the Gods, Nezha was born as a boy delivered in a ball of flesh. He could speak and walk immediately after birth, and soon became a disciple to The Perfected Supreme Oneness (太乙真人 or Taiyi Zhenren). Nezha was well-known for killing the third prince of the Dragon King of East Sea. To calm the Dragon King who was planning to flood Chentang Pass and report Nezha to the Jade Emperor, Nezha committed suicide by carving up his own flesh and dismembering his bones, as a gesture to repay his parents for giving birth to him. Nezha was later brought back to life by Taiyi Zhenren, who also gave him two new weapons: Wind & Fire Wheel (风火轮) and Fiery Spear (火焰枪). The reincarnated Nezha is more powerful than ever. Together with Li Jing, he fought many battles to subdue the demons. Due to his military achievements, Nezha is later worshiped as the Grand Marshal of the Central Camp (中营大元帅) among the Generals of the Five Camps (五营元帅).
God of Blessing & Virtue
Also known as Tua Pek Kong（大伯公）, is one of the most popularly worshiped deities among the Southeast Asian Chinese. He is often depicted as a kind-looking, silver-haired old man in a gentry’s robe and matching headgear. Sometimes, he is also featured riding on a tiger, as a symbol of his power to rid of evil. Certain people believe that Tua Pek Kong is one of the manifestations of the Earth God (土地神), while others believe him to be a Southeast Asian local deity. Regardless of his origin, people pray to him for prosperity, wealth, safety, and happiness.
Mainly known as Sudhana and Shancai or Shancai Tongzi in Chinese, and translated as Child of Wealth, appears in Buddhist, Taoist and folk stories; in most of them he is one of the acolytes of the bodhisattva Avalokiteśvara (观音) and is paired with"Dragon Girl"(龙女）. He and Dragon Girl are depicted with Guanyin.
Confucius, whose actual name was Kong Qiu 孔丘 (courtesy name Zhong Ni, 551-479 BC), was a famous educationist and thinker in the Spring and Autumn Period of China. Confucius pioneered a trend of private schools in China and was the founder of Confucianism. In ancient times, Confucius was honored as the “Sacred Sage of Heaven” and was one of the most well-learned scholars at that time. Generations of rulers in China after him would honour him as the Sage King, the Supreme Sage, the Supreme Sage Teacher, and an Exemplary Teacher for All Ages. His thoughts and doctrines would have a profound impact on later generations.
Is a Chinese God with a third truth-seeing eye in the middle of his forehead. Er-lang Shen may be a deified version of several semi-mythical folk heroes who help regulate China's torrential floods dating variously from the Qin, Sui, and Jin dynasties. In the Ming semi-mythical novels Creation of the Gods and Journey to the West, Erlang Shen is the nephew of the Jade Emperor. In the former, he assists the Zhou army in defeating the Shang. In the latter, he is the second son of a mortal and Jade emperor's sister. In the legend, he is known as one of the greatest warrior gods of heaven.
Gan Tian Da Di
Gan Tian Da Di or “The Great Emperor who moved Heaven” is a famous Taoist priest in Jin dynasty, his original name was Xu Xun (许逊), courtesy name Jingzhi (敬之), and he was born in Yitangpo in the Changding Township of Nanchang County (now part of Jiangxi province). Taoists belonging to the Jingming (净明) Sect as well as the Lvshan (闾山) School both regard him as their founder. During the first year of Taikang (AD 280) of the Jin dynasty, Xu Xun was appointed the governor of Jingyang (now part of Sichuan). He is also known as Xu Jiulang, Xu Jingyang (许旌阳), Grand Master Jingyang, Gan Tian Da Di (The Great Emperor who moved Heaven). His other titles include as Heavenly Master Xu as well as The Pure Master Xu and was one of the four great Taoist Saints. In the Teochew prefecture in China, the Gantian Dadi whom they worship over there refers to another person named Bo Yi (伯益 commonly known as Bo Ye 伯 爷, Bo Gong 伯公, Boye Gong, Lao Bogong, etc). In the Teochew prefecture, there are many temples dedicated to Xu Xun, and he is widely worshipped.
Was a Buddhist monk who lived during the 5th or 6th century. He is traditionally credited as the transmitter of Chan Buddhism to China, and regarded as its first Chinese patriarch. According to Chinese legend, he also began the physical training of the monks of Shaolin(少林) Monastery that led to the creation of Shaolin kungfu.
Celestial Master Zhang
Named Zhang Daoling , was an Eastern Han Dynasty Taoist figure credited with founding the Way of the Celestial Masters sect of Taoism, which is also known as the Way of the Five Pecks of Rice. He is also known as Ancestral Celestial Master (祖天师) or Zhengyi Zhenren (正一真人) to Taoists. Zhang is sometimes pictured riding on a tiger. According to hagiographies compiled in approximately 400 C.E., in 142 C.E. the deity Taishang Laojun (a deified Laozi) revealed to Zhang on Mount Heming the "Doctrine of the Orthodox One the Authority of the Alliance and bestowed upon him the title Celestial Master. His descendants have held the title of Celestial Masters up to the present day.
The Grand Supreme Elderly Lord. He is also known as Daode Tianzun (道德天尊), which is the official title for Taiqing (太清): The Grand Pure One, which is one of the Three Pure Ones. His other names include Daode Zhizun (道德至尊) "The Universally Honoured Virtuous One", the Taoist Ancestor. Laozi is regarded to be a manifestation of Daode Tianzun who authored the classic Tao Te Ching. As Taoism took root, Laozi was worshipped as a god. Belief in the revelation of the Tao from the divine Laozi resulted in the formation of the Way of the Celestial Masters, the first organized religious Taoist sect. In later mature Taoist tradition, Laozi came to be seen as a personification of the Tao. He is said to have undergone numerous "transformations" and taken on various guises in various incarnations throughout history to initiate the faithful in the Way.
Was a Chinese military leader of the late Ming and early Qing dynasties. After the Ming Dynasty fell to the Manchu, Zheng refused Manchu offers of rank and power and launched a military campaign against the new Dynasty in 1659, taking a large force from his base in Fujian Province up the Yangtze River. Initial success turned into failure, but, undaunted, Zheng took Taiwan from the Dutch in 1662 to use as a secure rear base area.He became a popular deity and cultural hero to the Chinese, and even the Qing court honoured him as a paragon of loyalty.
Supreme Emperor of the Dark Heaven
The Supreme Emperor of the Dark Heaven, or Xuantian Shangdi, is the popular name of Great Emperor of the Dark Warrior (玄武大帝 or Xuanwu Dadi). He is one of the highest-ranking Taoist deities, revered for his abilities to control the evil elements, and perform miracles. Scholars generally agree that the belief of Xuanwu stemmed from the ancient worship of the stars. The ancient Chinese divided the celestial stars into four groups of seven stars - east, west, south, and north - which represent the Four Symbols (四象), Four Sacred Ones (四灵), Four Beasts (四兽), and Four Directional Gods (四方神) respectively. Xuanwu refers to the northern group, which is dark (玄), and resembles a turtle and a serpent, which have scales that are seen as symbols of armours (武, literally ‘warrior’ or ‘martial’). Xuanwu was later anthropomorphized as a Taoist deity who assisted King Wu in his conquest over Shang. He defeated the four demons of drought, locust plague, epidemics, and evil spirit, but the water demon and fire demon soon transformed into a giant turtle as well as a serpent and they continued to resist. Eventually, the turtle and serpent were defeated, and both surrendered to Xuanwu, who conferred them with the title of Essence of Water (太玄水精 or Taixuan Shuijing) and Essence of Fire (太玄火精 or Taixuan Huojing) respectively and made them his assistants. The worship of Xuanwu Dadi is a hybrid of star worship and animism. This is evident from the iconography, which often depicts Xuanwu Dadi as a warrior in black robe who wields a sword and sometimes a black flag of the North, accompanied by the turtle and the serpent by his sides. The statue of Xuanwu Dadi at Kew Ong Yah Temple which has white face and looks like a scholar however is modeled after the one worshipped on Wudang Mountain, the headquarters of Quanzhen sect.
Sage Lord Guan
Sage Lord Guan or Guansheng Dijun, who is more popularly known as Lord Guan or Guan Gong (关公), refers to Guan Yu 关羽, a great general of the Shu state during the Three Kingdoms period, who is respected as an epitome of loyalty and righteousness. After the Song dynasty, Lord Guan's influence spread far and wide. Throughout the history of China, he was well-received by the Emperors, who had conferred multiple titles to him. Today, Lord Guan is still widely worshipped by the Chinese in mainland China as well as among overseas Chinese communities. Shrines dedicated to him can be found in homes, businesses, and fraternal organizations. Members of secret societies like The Hung Society worship Lord Guan for his loyalty, righteousness, courage, and valour. Merchants worship Lord Guan to seek loyalty and trustworthiness among business partners, and for protection of their accumulated wealth. Eventually, Lord Guan was also worshipped as a God of Wealth.
Also known as Zhao Gong Yuanshuai or Marshal Zhao. Another name of Zhao Gongming is Zhao Xuantan. He was worshipped as Caishen literally ‘God of Wealth’ in China and southeast Asia. On the last day of the last lunar month of the lunar calender, incense is burned in his temple. He is often depicted holding a golden whip and riding a black tiger which was believed as a embodiment of Zhao Gongming from Canonization of the Gods to stop the wind and ghosts.
The Monkey God
Legend has it that the Monkey God Sun Wukong 孙悟空, who had the title "Great Sage Equal to Heaven", was actually a drop of blood from Buddha which fell on a piece of rock. This piece of rock subsequently absorbed the essence of the sun and the moon and transformed itself into the Monkey God. The Monkey God protected the monk Tang Sanzang on his journey to the West to gather Buddhist scriptures and was then deified as God of Victorious Strife. Many common people worshipped the Monkey God for his superb martial arts skills and his ability to subdue demons and ensure peace and stability in the world. During the first two decades of the 20th century, many Peranakans in Singapore also worshipped the Monkey God, whom they dubbed "The Sage Lord." They believe that the Monkey God is omnipotent and can help believers to alleviate their pain and suffering and guide them in the right direction.
Patriarch of the Clear Stream
Chen Puzu was a Buddhist monk from Yongchun county of Fujian province who lived during the Northern Song dynasty. It was said that Chen Puzu gained supernatural powers through lecturing on the dharma and meditation. When a period of drought hit Mount Penglai of Anxi county, the residents invited Chen Puzu to pray for rain, and he succeeded. The residents were very grateful, and invited Chen Puzu to stay. Chen was known as the Qingshui Zushi (i.e. the Patriarch of the Clear Stream), and he was very active in doing charitable works. During his lifetime he built dozens of bridges and was well-known for his ability to pray for rain, and thus he earned the respect of the common people. Soon after Qingshui Zushi passed away, he was deified. Among his devotees, he is affectionately known as the Grand Patriarch (祖师公 or Zushi Gong), Dark-faced Patriarch (乌面祖师 or Wumian Zushi) or Nose-dropping Patriarch (落鼻祖师 or Luobi Zushi). The Worship of Qingshui Zushi is popular in Taiwan and several places in Southeast Asia, especially by the overseas Anxi communities. The Ancestral Temple at the Clear Water Cliff in Anxi County thus became a sacred site for devotees when they returned to their home villages to worship their ancestors.
Marshal Tian, or Tiandu Yuanshuai, is generally believed to be the deified Lei Haiqing, a famous musician who lived during the Tang Dynasty. Lei Haiqing was known as the “Divine Lute Player” for his exceptional talent in music and dance. He was selected to serve the Tang court during Emperor Xuanzong’s reign. When An Lushan attacked Chang’an during the An Shi Rebellion, the royal musicians, including Lei Haiqing, were kidnapped to Luoyang and forced to play for the rebels. But Lei Haiqing remained loyal to the Tang court He refused to serve An Lushan, and instead accused An of committing treason. A Lushan was furious, and sentenced Tian to death through dismemberment by five horses. His loyalty was not forgotten. When the Tang court was restored, Emperor Xuanzong conferred him the posthumous title of 天下梨园众都管 (literally ‘Supervisor of all Opera Troupes under Heaven’), or in short, the Theatre God. Since then he was since worshiped by opera troupes when they perform at temples. Legend has it that after his death, Lei Haiqing’s spirit appeared in the clouds to protect the Emperor who was escaping to Sichuan. The character Lei (雷) on his flag was half obscured by the cloud, and only the lower part Tian (田) was visible. The Emperor mistook Tian as his surname, and hence conferred him the title of Tian Duyuanshuai or Marshal Tian.
Grand Master Pu-An
Grand Master Pu-An, or Pu’an Zushi, was born in Jiangxi during the Song dynasty. He was the 13th generation Zen Master Pu’an of Buddhist Linji Tradition (临济宗) and was well versed in magic arts and was able to cure sickness and relieve disasters. After he passed away, Pu’an Zushi continued to make his presence and power felt. Pu’an Zushi was popularly worshipped by Taoist priests from local religious sects in Jiangxi and Fujian. When the Chinese migrated to Southeast Asia, the worship of Pu’an Zushi spread to the region. Grand Master Pu-An is also worshipped as the Patron Saint of builders and carpenters.
On the right altar, there are all female fairies. The Goddess of Mercy (慈航真人) is seated on the lotus platform, compared with Sudhanakumāra and Nāgakanya (龙女) her hair combed into a bun, her hands crossed in front of her, her face appearing quiet and serene, and her eyes looking down on all living beings with infinite compassion. The Goddess of Birth (注生娘娘) wore a golden band on her head to hold her hair together, carried a young child in her bosom, and had a plump-looking face that exuded kindness, compassion and an air of approachability around her.
Beside the Goddess of Mercy is Mysterious Maiden of the Nine Heavens (九天玄女). She appears on the front of this altar also with the famous sea God, Mazu(妈祖). On the middle of the altar, there are two idols, Nvwa(女娲) and Tianshang Shengmu (天上圣母，the same as Mazu). The female fairies paly a figure as mother and protect the believers and the place where they could live and work peacefully and happily, as well as a place where they could set up a family and have plenty of offspring. As such, the female fairies, all of whom symbolise fertility, have now become the sustenance of people's hopes and lives.
Mysterious Maiden of the Nine Heavens
Mysterious Maiden of the Nine Heavens, or Jiutian Xuannü, is worshiped by many as goddess of war and longevity. Legend has it that Xuannü was anthropomorphized and deified from Xuanniao (玄鸟, literally ‘black bird’), which was the ancestor of the Shang tribe. According to Mysterious Maiden Art of War《玄女兵法》, Xuannü appeared before the Yellow Emperor during a time when he was against Chi You, the tribal leader of the Nine Li tribe. The Maiden imparted Yellow Emperor with military tactics and eventually defeated Chi You. Xuannü was later canonized in the Taoist pantheon as Jiutian Xuannü, where she became a disciple of the Queen Mother of the West (西王母 or Xi Wangmu). Hence, incense makers and certain temples also worship Jiutian Xuannü for protection.
Translated as Dragon Girl, along with Sudhana are considered acolytes of the Bodhisattva Avalokiteśvara in China. The depiction of Longnü and Sudhana with Avalokiteśvara may have been influenced by the Jade Maiden (玉女) and Golden Youth (金童) who both appear in the iconography of the Jade Emperor. She is the eight-year-old daughter of the Dragon King (龙王) of the East Sea.
Goddess of Birth
Different stories and legends are told of different Chinese Goddesses of Birth or Fertility in different parts of China. One of these goddesses is Zhusheng Niangniang. Zhusheng Niangniang is a singular manifestation of three maidens - Yunxiao (云霄), Qiongxiao (琼霄), and Bixiao (碧霄) - who were younger sisters of the Warrior Gods of Wealth Zhao Gongming (赵公明). According to Canonization of the Gods, Yunxiao once derived the Golden Dipper of the Undifferentiated Prime (浑元金斗) from a labour basin, which she used in her fight against the evil King Wu of Zhou together with her sisters Qiongxiao and Bixiao. Though the sisters were defeated in the fight, they were subsequently conferred the title of Zhusheng Niangniang together to assist the Jade Emperor in taking charge of the matters pertaining to fertility in the mortal world. There are some who think that the Goddess of Birth is Madam Lin Shui, as both Goddesses oversee women's fertility
Mazu/ Tianshang Shengmu
Is a Chinese sea goddess also known by several other names and titles, the most popular of which is Tianshang Shengmu. She is the deified form of the purported historical Lin Mo or Lin Moniang, a Fujianese shamaness whose life span is traditionally dated from 960 to 987. Revered after her death as a tutelary deity of seafarers, including fishermen and sailors, her worship spread throughout China's coastal regions and overseas Chinese communities throughout Southeast Asia. She was thought to roam the seas, protecting her believers through miraculous interventions. She is incarnated as Mazu and swears not only to protect sailors but to oversee all facets of life and death, providing help to anyone who might call upon her.
The mother goddess of Chinese mythology, the sister and wife of Fuxi, the emperor-god. Her reverential name is Wahuang(娲皇), Nvwa NiangNiang (女娲娘娘). She is credited with creating mankind and repairing the Pillar of Heaven. After demons fought and broke the pillars of the heavens, Nvwa worked unceasingly to repair the damage, melting down the five-coloured stones (red, yellow, blue, black, and white) to mend the heavens. Sage Lord Zhang (张公圣君) and his comrades Sage Lord Xiao (肖公圣君), Sage Lord Zhang (章公圣君) are placed on the left altar (part 3 on the picture).
Sage Lord Zhang
Sage Lord Zhang or Zhanggong Shengjun, also known as Great Lord of the Method (法主公 or Fazhu Gong), is worshipped as a tutelary god in Anxi county of Fujian province. He is generally believed to be Zhang Ciguan 张慈观 of the Southern Song dynasty. Zhang learnt martial arts and Taoist magic since he was young. When he was 12, he fought and defeated the demon snake at Mount Rock-Ox (石牛山) together with Taoist priests Xiao Ming and Zhang Min. To express their gratitude and reverence, local villagers built a shrine for the trio, and named them Sage Lord Zhang (张), Sage Lord Xiao (肖), and Sage Lord Zhang (章) respectively. The iconography of the trio is usually very similar, featuring dishevelled hair and fierce facial expression, differentiated mainly by the colour of the face. Zhang is black-faced, Xiao is red-faced, and Zhang is green-faced. All three of them carry a sword, step bare-footed on a Wind & Fire Wheel (风火轮), and have a snake wrapped around their waist.
Lady Mother of the Dipper
The Temple has been in existence without a statue or an image of the Lady Mother of the Dipper (斗母元君 or Doumu Yuanjun), for the longest time, until the current one was brought in from Mainland China in 2005. Lady Mother of the Dipper, affectionately known as Doumu, is the feminine aspect of the cosmic God of Heaven. She is perceived as the mother of the nine Star Lords, who are manifestation of the seven stars of the Big Dipper, and two accompanying stars Fuxing (辅星) and Bixing (弼星) that are not visible to the naked eye. As the Yin God of the Primordial Commencement（元始天尊）, Doumu oversees the celestial beings, including the sun, the moon and the stars, and holds the Registrar of Life and Death. Taoists pray to Doumu for health and longevity, and for the safety of their offsprings. It is widely believed among the devotees that fasting and praying devotedly to Doumu may purge one’s sins. Hence the widespread devotion to her. The statue of Doumu is in the middle of the Hall of Tai Sui. The iconography is designed to reflect Doumu’s supreme divine power as the Mother of Tao (道母 or Daomu). The statue has four faces, one on each side of the head, which represent the Four Forms (四象). It also has eight arms, four on each side of the body, which represent the Eight Trigrams (八卦 or Bagua). Two of the hands are pressed together in a hand seal in front of the chest, while the other six hands hold different religious tools, including a sun wheel, a moon wheel, a hand bell, a golden seal, a bow, and a sword. The sun wheel and the moon wheel symbolize yang and yin respectively, and together they represent the Supreme Ultimate. Interestingly, the sun ‘日’ wheel and the moon ‘月’ wheel are sometimes interpreted as the dissected components of Ming ‘明’ of the Ming Dynasty. Hence, in certain practices, Doumu is worshipped as the guardian of the Hung Society (洪门) - a secret society devoted to the goal of overthrowing the Qing and restoring the Ming (反清复明).