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Tangyue Memorial Archway

Tangyue Memorial Archway is located in Tangyue village of Shexian County, the renowned Town of Arches. It is a complex of seven well-preserved ancient arches. In 1996, Tangyue Memorial Archway was listed as a key national cultural protection unit under the approval of the State Council since it is the biggest existing and best-preserved complex of arches in Anhui Province.


The seven memorial archways were built by the Baos in honor of the merits and virtues of their family members. Tangyue Memorial Archway stands in the main street of the village in order of 'loyalty, filial piety, chastity and charity'. Three were constructed in the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), and the other four in the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911). The most ancient one, which has a long history of over 580 years, can be traced back to 1420 during the reign of Yongle in the Ming Dynasty. The latest one was built in 1820 in the reign of Jiaqing.


Behind every archway, there is a touching story. One of the most acknowledged stories is the one of “Filial Piety Archway”, Ci Xiao Li Fang in Chinese. It was built in honor of Bao Sheyan and Bao Shousun, who are father and son. According to historical records, they were captured by a general, who wanted to execute one of them. Bao Shousun wanted to sacrifice his life to save his father, so he begged the general to behead him instead of his father. Whereas, the father was also a loving and caring father and wanted him to be executed rather than his son. Their action and love moved the general, who finally released them. Later, the court knew the fact and approved the construction in praise of their filial piety and self-sacrificial spirit.


Another moved story is the origin of “Chastity Archway”, Jie Jin San Dong Fang in Chinese.  The construction of the 'Chastity Archway' was in praise of a stepmother who remained chaste while raising her stepchild after her husband died. According to historical record, a widow with the surname of Wu, who was the second wife of Bao Wen, lost her husband when she was 29. After her husband's death, she still treated her stepchild well as her own son. Wu died 31 years later. Her action touched the local officials, who decided to build an archway to honor her noble spirit. This touching story has been passed down from one generation to another in Tangyue Village.

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