Yi-wong-tin (Two Emperors' Palace Village) [????-c.1927] | Gwulo: Old Hong Kong

Yi-wong-tin (Two Emperors' Palace Village) [????-c.1927]

Current condition: 
Demolished / No longer exists
Date Place demolished: 
c.1927-01-01 (Year, Month, Day are approximate)

Location (approximate) of Palace for Last Emperors of Sung Dynasty during their stay in Kowloon. 


There was yet another historical site called Erh-huang-tien Village (in Cantonese Yi-wong-tin Two Emperors' Palace Village) which was closely related to the royal visit. Amongst the many old villages listed in the Hsin-an Gazetteer was the name Erh-huang-tien but written in the form .r: j$ f& , meaning Two Huangs' Store. Ch'en Pe-tao was the first scholar to point out that this was a mistake and should be Two Emperors' Palace. (The Cantonese pronunciations of huang for emperor and huang for yellow are the same, and in Mandarin tien for palace and tien for store are the same. The error in the Gazetteer may be ascribed to intentional alteration of the two characters to avoid political trouble in the Yuan dynasty which exterminated the last two emperors of Southern Sung.) This interpretation is acceptable.


A few other writers in modern times in describing the historical sites in Kowloon have likewise confirmed the existence of such a village. It has been generally taken for granted that it was so named because the last two Sung emperors stayed there for some time, or constructed a palace there. Furthermore, the original site of the village is believed to have been somewhere southwest of Sung Wong Toi Hill. According to the report of Mr. Wu Pa-ling who had carried out research in that area, the village situated at the foot of the northern tip of the Er-huang-tien Hill was formerly occupied by some two hundred people, mostly by the surname of Lee and living in about twenty or thirty houses. In 1927 or 1928, they were evacuated by the Government and the whole village, together with a Temple of the Northern God (Pei-ti) at the front of the village, was levelled to permit the construction of modern roads and buildings. Henceforth, there was no trace left by which to locate the original site of the village. The temple was removed to a nearby place by the side of the present Tam-kung Road where there is a street by the name of Pei-ti (Northern God).


 My own study on the subject has led me to the conclusion that it is highly probable that the royal party did visit that place or stay there in some house or houses which, in accordance with Chinese tradition, were subsequently called by the honorific name of palace (kun}> or tien). After their departure from Kowloon people came in later times to settle down at the same place. More houses were built from time to time forming a village called Two Emperors' Palace Village and the hill by its side was also called Two Emperors' Palace Hill, which was really the hill on the northern tip of the eastern pincer of the Kuan-fu Mountain. The most difficult problem in this study, however, is to know where exactly the original site of the village was, as every written record has omitted the location and no one who has visited it could tell precisely.


After many years of painstaking and unsuccessful research, I finally found the right solution as late as 1962 when I was able to obtain some old maps of Kowloon Peninsula through the kind co-operation and assistance of officers of the Crown Lands and Survey division of the Public Works Department, Hong Kong Government. On one of them prepared in 1903 — Sheet 6 in Number 2 Survey District — the exact location of the village is indicated and the name is given below. It is, however, mispelt Un Wan Tun probably due to linguistic difficulty on the part of the foreign surveyor. It is on the eastern side of the northern part of the Kuan-fu Mountain to which the colloquial name of Two Emperors' Palace Hill is also not given. Comparing this map with two others (Military Survey Map 1902-03, GS 3749, and Map of Kowloon, 1960, Sheet 2) and checking it with my personal observation in the old and new roads around that area, I found that the original site of the village was directly west of the southern foot of the former Sacred Hill, about 1,200 ft. distant from it (see map). The northern tip of the Two Emperors' Palace Hill has been levelled leaving a high cliff there. As to the precise boundaries, population and number of houses in the former village, there is no way to ascertain this, although the military map of 1902-03 shows only a very small number of houses in comparison with other villages in Kowloon.


Source: The Travelling Palace of Southern Sung in Kowloon Jen Yu Wen.  RASHK Vol  (1967) p. 30