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Yue Fei

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 northern invaders.

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.

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