Yue Fei (1103-1142), a national hero, was a very famous general in the Song
Dynasty (960-1279) who fought against the invasion of the State of Jin.
Yue Fei was born in Tangyin of Xiangzhou (in today's Henan
Province in Central China). He was a great national hero of the Southern
Song dynasty (1127-1279) who distinguished himself in battles against
During the 12th century, when Jurchen invaders from the north attacked China,
General Yue Fei was commander of the Song armies. His attempt to push north and
recover all the lost Chinese territory was opposed, however, by a peace-seeking)
party within the capital headed by the minister Qin Hui, who believed that
further prosecution of the war would be too costly. Qin Hui's faction proved
more influential, and in 1141 Yue Fei was recalled to the Song court and
imprisoned. Later he was executed after being framed by Qin Hui.
There is a famous story about Yue Fei. Once he left the army and went home to
see his mother out of indignation towards the marshal. His mother gave him an
earnest lecture and tattooed on his back the very notion of "loyalty to the
nation," which Yue kept in mind ever since, helping him to later make great
military achievements and become a well-known national hero.
In 1163, Song Emperor Gaozong exonerated Yue Fei and had his corpse reburied
at the present site. In 1221, a memorial temple
of Yue Fei was built here with statue in his image enshrined inside.
The memorial temple has been destroyed and rebuilt several times.
The present structure was the product of the restoration in 1923. It contains a
4.54-meter-high statue of Yue Fei, which shows him armed with a sword in the
left hand, seemingly prepared to fight at all times. A calligraphy
work of Yue Fei that reads "return the mountains and rivers to us" is hung on
the wall, as a reference to his patriotism as well as his resistance against the
Jurchen. On the two side halls of the temple are 120 tablets that are engraved
with Yue Fei's poems as well as eulogies to him by noted figures.
To the right of the memorial temple is the mausoleum of Yue Fei. Four iron
statues: Qin Hui and his wife, Zhangjun and Mo Qixie are kneeling in front of
the tomb, all cursed and spat on by visitors for their guilt. On both sides of
the tomb are six stone figures -- two horses, two tigers, and two goats --
symbolizing the guards of Yue Fei.