Song Shao Di Mu, the Tomb of Song Shao,
Last Emperor of the Southern Song Dynasty, Chiwan, Shekou, Nanshan, Shenzhen,
History says that the conquering Mongols (who established the succeeding Yuan
Dynasty) forced the seven-year-old emperor to leap into the sea and drown himself.
This was Song Di Bing (宋帝昺),and
a brief account excerpted from this
page is as follows:
In 1276, the Southern Song Dynasty court fled to Guangdong by boat, fleeing Mongol invaders, and leaving the emperor Gong Di behind. Any hope of resistance
centered on two young princes, Gong Di's brothers. The older boy, Zhao Shi, aged nine was declared emperor, and, in 1277, the imperial court sought refuge first in Silvermine Bay (Mui Wo) on Lantau Island
[in modern Hong Kong] and later in today's Kowloon City, Hong Kong. The older brother became ill and died, and was succeeded by the younger, Zhao Bing, aged seven. When in 1279 the Song army was defeated in its last battle, the Battle of Yamen, against the Mongols in the Pearl River Delta, a high official is said to have taken the boy emperor in his arms and jumped from a clifftop into the sea, drowning both of them. These emperors are also believed to have held court in the Tung Chung valley, which takes its name from a local hero who gave up his life for the emperor. Hau Wong, an official from this court, is still revered as a god in Hong Kong.
page gives the high official's name as Lu
Xiufu, who "jumped into the sea with emperor on his back after driving his
family into the sea."
Legend picks up where history leaves off: a little body later washed up on the
shore, wearing the yellow dragon-embroidered robes of an emperor. At the
same moment, a board fell from the interior of the Tian
Hou Temple. Devotees who recovered the body prayed at the temple to
find out what to do with it. Tian Hou answered that the fallen board had
been "given" to make a casket, and that the boy was to be entombed
nearby. The tomb is now a fifteen-minute walk from the temple.
As a side note: another legend about Song Di
Bing's brother Song Di Zheng gave rise to the name "Kowloon." It
was believed that the Emperor could be safe if he were sheltered in a place with
"nine dragons." There are eight mountains around Kowloon, so
figuring that the Emperor himself was the Ninth Dragon, they decided to rest
there. (As we saw above, they were wrong.) "Kowloon" is
an English transcription of the name they gave the place, gau lung,
meaning "Nine Dragons."
||Offerings are placed in
front of the Boy Emperor's statue.
|Closer up: Lu
Xiufu holds the boy aloft before plunging into the sea.
||This is a side altar; the
"bee-hive" on the right is an incinerator for the burning of
offerings to ancestors ("ghost money").
|Women praying in front of
the tomb itself
||From Tian Hou
Temple (see link below), walk west until you reach the traffic
circle. (Note that this is the end of the line for bus #226; if you stay
on it past the Tian Hou Temple, you can alight at the end to begin your
visit to Chiwan.) Turn right at the traffic
circle, then make a quick left. Walk past the school, and turn left
at the next corner, where you will see the statue of the Boy
Emperor. (The Tomb and the school share a boundary.)
Hou Temple, Chiwan and the Left Old
Fort, or Zou Pao Tai, seen on the A
Day in Chiwan page.
||All photos on
this page are copyright 2004 by James
||Details to be