Ng Shing Gung Altar


History San José

History San José
San Jose, United States

When Heinlenville was constructed after the fire of 1887, plans called for a temple. The community raised $2,000 for the two-story brick structure, which was built by a crew of eight Chinese laborers on Cleveland Avenue at Taylor Street. The temple was called Ng Shing Gung which, translated, means temple of the five gods. These gods were popular figures associated with Chinese mythology and religion. Ng Shing Gung, though described as a Taoist temple, was actually a mixture of many philosophies. Typical of Chinese temples in America, symbols and deities from Taoism, Buddhism, peasant culture and mythology were present in the temple. The statues of the five gods were believed to have been rescued in the 1887 fire from a temple in the Market Street Chinatown. The altar was custom-made in Canton for Ng Shing Gung. Likewise, the drum and bell, the ornamental poles, and tapestries were imported from China. Most of the small stands and tables in the temple were made locally. Part of the Chinese American Historical Museum at the Ng Shing Gung, History Park.

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  • Title: Ng Shing Gung Altar
  • Date: 1887/1902
  • Location: San Jose (Calif.)
  • Physical Dimensions: Multiple
  • Provenance: Chinese Cultural and Historical Project Collection