two upright columns | Gwulo: Old Hong Kong

two upright columns

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two upright columns

Two columns still standing in original position; the other two had fallen over.


Hi there,

The shape of the pair matched those traditional flatstaff holders, mostly in front of temples and ancestoral halls over the city.

Villages would eract flatstaffs to commemorate the youngesters\scholars who passed their official academic examinations in flying colours.  Among such holders usually the year of the achievement would be engraved together with their placement according to their results.  For this particular pair I saw the 同治 era of the Qing Dynasty which last 13 years from 27th April 1958 through 12th January 1875).  The actual year could not be read from the photo.   The bigger words in the middle also stated the bloke was number 25 from the top.  I could not read which examination was concerned though.

Thanks & Best Regards,


ps   Viewed the photos again and the year seemed to be 同治葵酋.  Convert it based on this table it would be 1873 AD.

Bob, that's an unusual find, thanks for posting. And thanks to Thomas for the explanation - I had no ideas what these might be.

Here are the other photos Bob posted of the granite slabs:

Top Centre
Top Centre, by bob


Bottom centre
Bottom centre, by bob


Top Right
Top Right, by bob

Thank you, Mr T!  What were the square holes for?  Do you have a picture of a complete one?  Found it very interesting as they were located in the middle of nowhere. 

Hi there,

I guess I missed one of the photos.  The other photo showed the lower part which showed 中試第二十五名舉人黃.

黃 is probably the surname of the person to be commemorated.  

舉人 is a title for those who passed in excellence in local examination or a county or district.  To really explain the system you need a Chinese History teacher as the definition of 舉人 differ over the Dynasties.

This Master Wong ranked 25th in that exam and was believed to be among the local elite.  On the other hand, there might be an Ancestral Hall or temple in ruin in the location.


Hi Bob,

There are two of these in the Hung Sing Temple in Apleichau.  However the holders are not clearly visible as over the years the administrators of the temple had pour concrete around the stones.  If you were there a few months ago while they were replacing the flatstaffs you might be able to see the original holders in full.

The depressions are likely for inserting wooden blocks to hold or tide down the flat staff.

As far as I could recall the Hau Wong Temple in Tung Chung seem to have at least one flagstaff mounted in a pair of these.  I may have some photos of the temple but have to dig it out somewhere in one of my hard disks.


Hi there,

I went pass the Hau Wong Temple in Tung Chung yesterday.  There were two flagstaffs there.  However they were not using the traditional way to fasten it up.  On the other hand, the flagstaffs there were very thin.


DSCF2702a.JPG, by tngan
DSCF2699a.JPG, by tngan
DSCF2700a.JPG, by tngan