Reporter: Chen Guan-Lin/Jinhu
Culture Minister Cheng Li-Chiun visited Kinmen yesterday and, accompanied by County Magistrate Chen Fu-Hai, watched the Qionglin Tsai Lineage Ancestral Worship Rites. The “Millennium Glamour, Qionglin Village - Reconstruction of Historical Scenes” program is listed by the Ministry of Culture as the top priority. This is a 3-year program with a total funding of NT$278 million. Minister Cheng stressed that Qionglin Village is a “living Minnan culture” and will be the “model” of a series of “Reconstruction of Historical Scenes” initiatives of the Ministry of Culture. She also hoped that with the deep and long-lasting Minnan culture, Kinmen may represent the “cultural icon” of Taiwan on the international stage.
The Ministry of Culture has listed Qionglin Village as the first target of the “Reconstruction of Historical Scenes” initiative and proposed a program titled “Representation of the Millennium Glamour of Tsai Lineage Settlement in Qionglin Village.” Minister Cheng arrived at Kinmen yesterday to pay a visit to Qionglin Village and was invited to attend the Tsai Lineage Ancestral Worship Rites, which was also held on the same day. Accompanied by County Magistrate Chen Fu-Hai, Deputy Magistrate Wu Cherng-Dean, Director of the Cultural Affairs Bureau Lyu Kun-He, and County Councilor Chen Cang-Jiang, Minister Cheng also went around Qionglin village.
“Qionglin Tsai Lineage Ancestral Worship Rites” was registered in 2011 as Kinmen County’s folk customs and rites. The rites take place in spring and autumn. The autumn worship rite was held yesterday at Tsai Lineage Temple, in which Wenchang Dijun (文昌帝君) and Fudezhengshen (福德正神, or the Righteous God of Blessing and Virtue) were worshipped, followed by the ritual of paying respects to the ancestors. The whole procedure observed the traditional rituals strictly. After watching the rites, Minister Cheng said she was deeply touched by the rites and believed this was a “living Minnan culture.” These are precious intangible assets that run down from generation to generation, preserving ancestral culture and familial lineage spirit, indicated Cheng.
County Magistrate Chen expressed his deep-rooted feelings towards Qionglin and many ideas about this village, hoping to develop Qionglin from cultural, educational, tourism, and religious aspects with business concepts to build the brand of Qionglin. Chen encouraged the staff of the Cultural Affairs Bureau to work diligently, and he also instructed the various County government departments to integrate resources in construction, tourism, land administration and education and to cooperate with Kinmen National Park Administration so that the hard-earned funding can be wisely utilized. It is important to use the valuable funding to fully restore the historical glamour of Qionglin and to share the experience of preservation and revitalization with other traditional settlements or clusters in Kinmen.
Minister Cheng said that this was her first time to visit Kinmen as the Minister of Culture and expressed her thanks to the invitation from Tsai Lineage to watch the ancestral worship rites. She was moved by the rites, which were inherited from generation to generation, preserving the culture and ancestral teaching, and ultimately uniting the whole lineage. As a result, the precious intangible asset has been preserved.
Cheng said that Qionglin Village is an important cultural asset as it houses more than 300 well-preserved historic buildings and could be called “living Minnan culture.” It is also a cultural asset “continuously developing” in daily life, acting as a symbol of Taiwan’s tangible and intangible cultural assets.
The “Reconstruction of Historical Scenes” initiative of the Ministry of Culture, pointed out Cheng, aims to set off from the historical culture value and to re-build the memories of historical culture; through reproduction, cultural values and historical memories can be preserved as well as continuously develop in our daily life. The reconstruction of historical scenes of Qionglin Village is a “demonstrational” plan, said Cheng, and it may become the “model” for reconstructing historical scenes.
In addition, Cheng expressed her expectation that the achievement of reconstruction of historical scenes launched by Kinmen will allow the Ministry of Culture to share it with other cities and counties. In the future, the Ministry of Culture will fully support the Kinmen County Government in its cultural assets management and cultural development, expecting that the Minnan culture preserved in Kinmen County will become a “culture icon” of Taiwan on the international stage. She also believed that the works of cultural assets preservation and maintenance Kinmen County Government are implementing will comply with international standards. Kinmen may one day contribute its experience in cultural assets preservation and management to the world.
Cheng also mentioned that she hopes a “cultural path” can be developed in Taiwan, cultural heritage preservation can be expanded to promote local culture, and tourism and cultural experience education can be integrated so that the next generation can understand the cultural values through the cultural path and embrace enriched culture through tourism.
The Ministry of Culture explained that Qionglin Village was by law the first registered “settlement” as a heritage site. Its cultural value is highly deemed because of its long history and richness in tangible and intangible cultural assets. The village has around 400 Minnan-style traditional buildings with swallowtail roof ridges or horseback roof ridges, seven ancestral temples and eight shrines of Tsai Lineage, eight national historic sites including Yi Gu Tang (怡穀堂) and the Wind Lion, one county-designated historic monument, and three officially recognized historical buildings. These historic sites are of high cultural value. The clan rules and moralities of Tsai Lineage represent the typical single lineage settlements and traditional clan values in Kinmen. The “Qionglin Tsai Lineage Ancestral Worship rites”, registered as a folk custom of Kinmen County in 2011 and preserved under the name of Kinmen Qionglin Tsai Shih-Ci Lineage Foundation (財團法人金門縣瓊林蔡氏十七郎公裔孫基金會) , takes place every spring and autumn. As the biggest lineage ancestral worship rite in Kinmen County, it is one of the most important folk activities in Kinmen.
The “Reconstruction of Historical Scenes” initiative is under the Forward-looking Infrastructure Development Program—Urban and Rural Development—Cultural Circles Subproject. 15 projects have been approved by the Ministry of Culture since its national announcement for proposal submission in July 2016. Accumulated with many years’ preparation and achievements, the proposal submitted by Kinmen County went well in the preliminary reviews and on-site surveys and was ranked No.1 among the 11 proposals in the first phase. It received financial support from the Ministry of Culture.
“Millennium Glamour, Qionglin Village—Reconstruction of Historical Scenes” is a 3-year program with a total funding of NT$278 million. Four sub-plans are formulated for the restoration of Qionglin Village: tangible cultural assets, intangible cultural assets, community participation and innovative revitalization, and technology-driven tours and displays. The key features include national historic sites, houses on Qiongyi Road, Qionglin Tunnel (civil defense tunnels) preservation and re-utilization, inheritance and preservation of important folk customs and traditional activities, organizational capability of citizens in terms of management and marketing, and more importantly, digitalization construction. Among them, Qionglin ancestral worship rites, community education integration, revitalization of traditional industries and multi-digital experiences are the key points for the program execution.
It is hoped that, through the program, public and private sectors can cooperate in representing the “Qionglin Tsai Lineage Millennium History; Living Minnan Culture” historic site. Based on village revitalization, eight national historic sites are to be presented together with the ancestral worship as attractions. Relevant works of the program and the Qionglin Village preservation and re-development plan can be combined to achieve resources integration and experience sharing. At the same time, this program can significantly demonstrate our efforts in launching the Potential World Heritage Sites in Taiwan.
Reporter: Chen Guan-Lin/Jinhu