Tue, Aug 07, 2018 - Page 4 News List

Headstones dating to Qing Dynasty found in Changhua

By Liu Hsiao-hsin and Jonathan Chin  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

One of several Qing Dynasty era headstones unearthed at a public cemetery in Changhua County’s Lugang Township is pictured on July 30.

Photo courtesy of Chen Shi-hsien

A trove of Qing Dynasty headstones has been unearthed at a public cemetery in Changhua County’s Lugang Township (鹿港), shedding light on the township’s early history.

The discovery was made during renovation work at the cemetery.

Cultural Affairs Bureau Director Chen Wen-pin (陳文彬), who inspected the site on Tuesday last week, said he has called a halt to the renovation and would consult with experts to identify and preserve the headstones.

The township office contacted the county government immediately after it was informed about the discovery, Lugang Secretary Lin Wei-jen (林威任) said.

Many of the headstones date to 1872, when Jingyi Yuan (敬義園), a charitable organization, built a public cemetery for unclaimed dead women in the township, Changhua Cultural Heritage Society honorary president Chen Shih-hsien (陳仕賢) said.

The Japanese colonial government in the 1930s relocated the unnamed graves and the headstones from the original site to the current location, which explains their discovery, he said.

Founded by local gentry in 1777, Jingyi Yuan was one of the oldest charitable organizations in Taiwan and the eight great merchant families of old Lukang had contributed to its work, Chen said.

In addition to unnamed graves, headstones belonging to local poets and other literary figures were also found, he said, adding that the headstones have historical value due to their excellent condition.

The county government should preserve the headstones and inscriptions of the township in a collection, especially as a local history museum is being planned for the Fusin Grain Warehouse, Chen said.

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