The heyday of Chinese History is a result of a balance between military and civilization accomplishments. Hence, from the Qing Dynasty to the present day the people have always held the cultivation of martial art and literacy in the highest regard. In early days in Taiwan, such ideology was realized in the construction of two temples: in the year 1811, Xue Zhi-liang, the prefect of Lu-gang, contributed his own salary to take the initiative in financing building of a temple to worship the God of Literacy, and another temple to worship the God of Martial Art. The former, although mainly was the place to enshrine the God of Literacy named Wen-chang, also became a gathering place for the literati of Lu-gang at the time. However, the successive prefect of Lu-gang, Mr. Deng Chuan-an, sensed the problem that as Lu-gang town limits were outside county jurisdiction, it would encounter the consequential lack of educational opportunities for young generations. Therefore, during Dao-guang period (1821-1851), he proposed that the eight jiao organization  members give monetary support for the establishment of a local academy (from Qian-lung to Jia-qing periods, i.e., 1754-1796, jiao had been the organizations tackled with the trading and commercial tasks, with the most prestigious companies as their leaders). One of the members in particular, named Lin wen-jun who was son of the owner of the most prosperous company among members of the eight jiao organizations, contributed the most. Consequently, the Lu-gang’s local academy, with support from local gentry, was established in the fourth year of Dao-guang (1824). This academy was the first institution of higher learning in Central Taiwan. As a tribute to Shen Guang-wen, honored as being ‘the father of Taiwanese Han Chinese Culture’ for his proliferation of literacy during the Holland occupation of Taiwan during the Ming Dynasty, the academy was named after his alternative name ‘Wen Kai’. In addition to purchasing books and providing a place for successful candidates in the local civil-service examination to study, the academy also employed famous contemporary scholars who had passed the highest imperial examination such as Cai De-fang. As a result, from Dao-guang to Guang-xu periods (1821-1875) alone, Lu-gang produced 6 successful candidates in the highest imperial examination, 9 successful candidates in the provincial imperial examination, and over 100 scholars who passed the imperial examination at the county level. The ‘Wen Kai’ Academy therefore won the fame of being the ‘cradle of Lu-gang culture.’

The ‘Wen Kai’ Academy was constructed adjacent to the Temple of Literacy, both of which became gathering places for local literati. On the other hand, in early days those who passed the imperial examination would adhere to the tradition to offer a gift in the form of a sacrifice to the God of Literacy to express their profound gratitude. Such tradition reflected a fact that there was a close bond between the ‘Wen Kai’ Academy and the Temple of Literacy ever since examination and the temple existed. The content of this rubbing revealed people’s admiration and their eager anticipations toward these two monuments: besides making a memorandum of the reconstruction of the buildings, it eulogized the contribution of Shen Guang-wen in advocating education and academia, depicted the natural setting of the temple, described that the Temple of Literacy had the Temple of Martial Art on the right and had the ‘Wen Kai’ Academy on the left, stated that the Wen-Kai academy has nurtured large number of great talents. It also encouraged those who would do studies there to try to read through all of the Chinese classical works and to have thorough understanding of the profound meaning held within. Finally, pointed out that their ultimate hope was that the learners who become erudite in the future, would be a great scholar while stay in privacy, and be a capable outstanding courtier if serve the country.

There are two steles remaining from the time when the Temple of Literacy was reconstructed, one was from 1818, and another one was from 1882. This rubbing was rubbed from the latter during the period of Japanese Occupation. The stele from which this rubbing was rubbed has been preserved in the Temple of Literacy until now. Nevertheless, due to some human damages and the weathering ravages over time, the engravings of the stele have faded, and the lower left corner of it was damaged. This rubbing of the stele, made some years earlier, has thankfully preserved this engraving in its entirety.  It would give future generations a greater understanding of the cultural significance of the ‘Wen Kai’ academy and the Temple of Literacy during the the Qing Dynasty. Besides, the description of the natural environment of its surroundings of the time and the narratives in the rubbing which revealed deep admiration people of this era had for the literary works and great scholars, would sensationally bring people back to the old days while they walk into these historical sites from the streets with nowadays’ buildings and facilities.

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