The Confucian Chan room is named for the figure seated in the middle, the Song Dynasty General Chan Low Kwan. Many of the Chinese immigrants to Orovllle trace their lineage to the region of Guangdong where the general lived.
Oroville's Chinatown thrived until 1907, when a massive flood badly damaged much of Oroville. Perched right next to the river, Chinatown was hard hit. Coupled with an economic depression, this ended up scattering the population, who sought opportunities elsewhere. The Chan family held on to the temple, eventually deeding it to the city in the 1930s in exchange for it remaining open for worship, and having a museum built to house the artifacts and educate the public. It is now on the National Register of Historic Places.
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Built above the Council Room, the Moon Room was the site of worship for Buddhists. It was named for the circular doorway outside.
Many of the furnishings seen in Oroville were gifted to the Chinese population by the Tongzhi Emperor of Qing China.
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Built in 1868, this room served as the de-facto city hall of Oroville's Chinatown. As much of the Chinese population was illiterate, the elders upheld the rule of law, settled disputes, and (when necessary) interacted with the white townsfolk.
On both sides of the room are shrines used in parades.
Tags: Oroville Chinese Temple California
As reflective of the pluralistic attitude of the temple, the three Gods exhibited cover the three main religions of China. All three are based on actual historic figures.
To the left is Hua Tuo, a famed doctor from Eastern Han China (140-208) renowned for the first use of general anaesthetic in China (using cannabis and wine) and his skills in surgery. After his execution by Cao Cao during the Three Kingdoms, his life was highly embellished (the famed novel Romance of the Three Kingdoms has him preforming feats of magic) and he in effect became the Daoist patron saint of diseases and illness.
In the center is Guan Gong/ Guan Yu (death 220), another figure from the Three Kingdoms Period and famed warrior. Much of the Romance of the Three Kingdoms centers around the red-faced general's feats of valor, fighting skill and loyalty. After his execution by Sun Quan, he became a deity in Buddhism, Taoism and Confucianism as a figure symbolizing valor, loyalty, and skill in battle (this includes business, hence his shrine in thousands of Chinese restaurants).
To the right is Tien Hau, better known as Mazu (960-987), a fisherman's daughter who was said to have rescued drowning family members in a dream. She eventually became a folk goddess and is worshipped by both Buddhists and Taoists.
The statues are believed to date from the 18th century.
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The original temple, translated as "Temple of Many Gods and Goddesses", is located here. As with most things Chinese, religion is seen pluralistically-an example being the Buddhist parable of the blind men and elephant-so the room allows worship of the three main forms of Chinese "religion": Buddhism, Taoism, and Confucianism. The artifacts are original and most date from 18th century China. The signs/placards are used to ask for and give thanks for favors.
Tags: Oroville Chinese Temple California Liet Sheng Kong Main