Early Ancestors

Centrally located inside the ancestral temple is this altar-like structure where three prominent pictures are displayed. They do have Chinese names, but the characters are hard for me to read. However, I can tell you that only people who have contributed to the country and have given honor to the family are considered worthy to be memorialized in this place. In fact, the tablets located inside the glass case are names of soldiers, lawyers, government officials, and those with such prominence. Sadly, though, only men are remembered in this hall of fame.

The picture on the far right is the patriarch, the one who started the lineage of the Liu Lin clan. His clothing suggests that he is from the Han dynasty and that the held a high government position. The middle picture represents an ancestor from the Tang dynasty: the hat and the white sick he carries indicate his high status in government. The picture on the far left is yet another government official as marked by the distinguished hat and white stick. He is from the Song dynasty.

Incidentally, not all families in China have such memorials to their ancestors. Only those who genuinely have prominent ancestry, or who have preserved their clan, or who have taken pains to record their history, or have the means to house the remnants of the past – these are the ones who are able to give posterity the benefit of such documentation. However far removed we are from this distant past, through the efforts of these people who value history and heritage, we can point to this part of China and call it our own.

This is a picture of yet another ancestor from the Ching dynasty. And again, by virtue of his clothing, we can assume that he also served as a government official, another one from our clan. I did not ask about the two women on either side of him, but I assume that they were his two wives. From my limited Chinese, I understood that this man actually visited the Philippines, possibly to oversee the Chinese who have immigrated there. This picture hung on the wall towards the side of the ancestral temple.

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