Xishan Temple and Men of Letters
2014.10.24

Xishan Temple has always been named differently: the folks referred to it as "Guandi Temple"; in the years of Dao Guang in the Qing dynasty the county government notices called it "the Emperor(Wudi) Temple"; at the close of the Qing dynasty a Miss Long Yinxiang in a Long family clan once composed a poem whose title was “Paying respects to Fengshan Temple”. However, because of its location in the western hills, people called it the "Xishan Temple"(the western Hill Temple).

Especially when more than two decades ago the temple was reconstructed, workers dug up a bronze tripod made in the period of Guangxu Emperor in the Qing dynasty, on which letters of "Xishan Temple" were carved. Thus it proved that the temple was called so at that time. During the time of the Republic of China, a Shunde’s poet, Li Liuhe described the scene in the poem of “Xishan Temple”: The temple stands within a green screen with green grass on the Fengling hill ridge. The water in front melts the color of the Pearl River while the mountain peak afar looks like a mirror. Twin towers shoot up over the mountain cave, looking down at the worshipers from all directions. Eternal friendship prospers here ever and burning incense stays long.

After the anti-Japanese war, another Shunde’s poet, Pan Xiaopan, came back home, and wrote a poem entitled "Touring the Guandi Temple in the western hill with Mai Shaoji’s sister Qian". It described the post-war desolation. He referred to the temple as " the Guandi Temple".

Xishan Temple always enjoys a dense tree shade, clean stone steps. Among the eight Shunde sights in the Qing dynasty, " deer raising and shady banyan tree " was one of its top. Now a stone-carved couplet still stands there, which reminds us of the beautiful resort with twisted paths, cool streams and dense forestry.

Today, the three characters "Xishan Temple" were inscribed by the contemporary famous calligrapher Li Quzhai, whose grandfather, Li Wentian, an accomplished scholar and calligrapher, once won the third place in the imperial examinations in the late Qing dynasty. On both sides the couplets "May the heaven give more births to the good-hearted, and people often do more good deeds" were written by Lian Deng, contemporary calligrapher from Leliu, Shunde. In front of the Xishan hill gate lies a dragon stone sculpture. Both the bold, unrestrained but subtle carvings help create a vigorous and lively dragon, suggesting the temple's prestigious status.