Workers renovating a 186-year-old temple in Tainan City found a machine gun bullet lodged in the roof, and it is most likely a relic of US air raids at the end of World War Two, the Tainan Cultural Assets Protection Association says.
The Cultural Assets Association said that the Shanxing Temple in Jiali District was founded in 1836. The exquisite clay sculpture and other construction methods, the traditional Fujian-style courtyard, and the Golden Tang Hall reflect the characteristics of the integration of Buddhism and Taoism in Taiwan. The Tainan City Government registered the temple as a historic building in March last year, affirming its cultural asset value.
Due to serious water leakage in the main building, which is over 100 years old, a restoration project was recently undertaken. During the restoration, a craftsman found the bullet lodged in the ridge structure of the roof.
According to research by the cultural association, at the end of World War II, allied aircraft bombed and strafed targets in Tainan City.
Historical records, and a detailed diary kept by a local physician, revealed that Jiali District was the scene of air raids on May 10, 1945, when it was estimated that more than 300 bombs were dropped on the city of Tainan. There were fires all over the city, Wu Xinrong’s diary entry noted. A bomb shelter adjacent to the temple was strafed by machine gun fire.
More raids occurred on June 27, and Wu noted that the enemy aircraft’s tactics had changed: first, bombs were dropped, then incendiary bombs, then machine gun strafing, and finally, gasoline was dropped.
The cultural association concluded that the bullet found in the roof is a relic of the air raids that occurred between May and June 1945.
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