Cycling from Fanling to Kam Tin is an adventure in itself, following a complex maze of single-track roads, dirt tracks and narrow, sinuous, crumbling concrete paths, which I will describe in a future post. The buildings where these door gods were photographed are all next to each other: the Tang Kwong U Ancestral Hall, the Cheung Chun Yuen Study Hall and a small temple to a deity whose identity I have been unable to discover.
The study hall would probably be better described as a martial arts academy, unlike the more conventional study halls, which in earlier times were used by candidates for the imperial examination, the passing of which was a requirement for those wishing to join the civil service. It has a large adjoining courtyard, where students practised, and an even larger garden, but sadly both these and the outbuildings are in a ruinous condition.
As required by convention, Yuchi Jingde is on the left and Qin Shubao on the right in all the following images, although only where they are guarding the martial arts academy are they carrying their conventional weapons. The temple guardians have a cartoonish quality that I find delightful, while the ancestral hall guardians show a depth of detail that is distinctly unusual and that reflect the individualism of the artist. On a technical note, the glare that creeps in from the sides of most of the photographs is unavoidable, because they were taken when the doors were open but still partially illuminated by the light outside. The temple doors had been opened 180 degrees, so this fault does not occur.
Because the images of the door gods in Guardians at the Gate were montaged in a way that juxtaposed images of the same guard, I reproduce below the door gods from that earlier post montaged in the same way as the new images, for ease of comparison.