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Keywords

building
AIMG_8956
天后古廟
油麻地
對聯
counterpoint
城隍廟
九龍
Yau Ma Tei
Kowloon
Chinese
Hong Kong
香港
poetry
couple
old
architecture
temple
Tin Hau


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Godly Poetic Warnings from the Temple!

Godly Poetic Warnings from the Temple!
I decided to tilt my camera when I took this photo, probably to add some dynamism to the temple entrance. Was it a good idea?? I cannot decide still.

In any case... it's customary in old Chinese architecture to display a some sort of couplet poetry (對聯) on both sides of the entrance. The rule to the couplet poetry is that both lines should either counter or complement each other in some way. So if one side of the poerty talks about winter, then the other side should talk about summer (the counterpoint) , while staying on the same subject matter (seasons, for example).

Here at this temple, the 對聯 reads

Forgiven you may be from the earthly justice,
Captured you will be by the hellish court.

Forgiven vs. Captured [counter]

Possibility (you may be forgiven) vs. certainty (you will be captured) [counter]

Earthly vs. Hellish [counter]

Justice and Court [complementary]

The warning to those who enter the temple is based on the Buddhist belief that one who commits a crime will pay for it either during his lifetime or after death in hell. It's not that different from the Christian belief that God be my ultimate judge.

Interesting huh?

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