This would have been one of a set of probably eight staffs, which would have been displayed at the 1883 Howell Rd temple in Tingha. This staff, along with Processional staff 2, are the only ones from this set still known to exist.
Wing Hing Long Museum, Tingha
TRANSCRIPTION AND TRANSLATION
Respectfully and conjointly given by Thy/Your favoured follower Leung Kau on an auspicious day in the second Spring month of the ninth year of the Kuang Hsü Era.
WHERE WAS THIS OBJECT USED?
This object, and the matching entitled “Processional staff 2”, are inscribed with a date that corresponds to 1883. Accordingly, the hypothesis is that they come from Tingha’s lavish 1883 temple.
仝 “conjointly”: This object forms a pair with “Processional staff 2”, which was donated by a certain 梁國 “Leung Kwok”. The word 仝 “conjointly” in the inscription presumably references the fact that the staffs formed a joint gift.
Date: The second Spring month of the ninth year of the Kuang Hsü Era equates to the period on the Gregorian calendar that began on the 9th of March and ended on 6th of April 1883.
“Leung Kau” may have been Tingha merchant “Le on Gow”: Historian Dr. Juanita Kwok has found reference to a “Le on Gow” in a bankruptcy statement penned in 1891 by Samuel Lum Sing (see notes on “Professional placard 1” for more about Tingha merchant and donor of that processional placard Samuel Lum Sing). “Le on Gow” is an alternative romanisation of the characters that are romanised above as “Leung Kau” (the surname “梁”, which is romanised above according to Cantonese pronunciation as “Leung”, is pronounced “Leong” in some Chinese vernaculars; “Leong” was also written “Le on”). Samuel Lum Sing writes in his statement that Le on Gow had been his business partner.
This is a continually evolving website, and more information about this object will be published as further research is conducted.