Between early Qing Dynasty and the period of Japanese Colonial Rule, Guandu Temple had gone through renovation for several times. The large dragon and tiger stone carvings, dragon columns, stone columns, and stone lions carved at that time have been preserved until today and been integrated with other materials during the renovation in later generations. The renovation in 1950 not only ascertained the layout of the main hall, but after the renovation in 2003, the location and styles of the stone carvings nowadays were been established as well. As mentioned above, these carvings are similar to the dragon columns, stone lions, carvings, and sculpture walls on the miracles of Matsu in modern period of time. Therefore, Guandu Temple is in combination of the art of stone carvings in the past and at present.
In addition, many monuments and stone carvings, including the dragon columns, flower and bird columns, stone carvings, stone windows, stone lions, and railings were remaining from the renovation mentioned above, witnessing the history of Guandu Temple, like that recorded in many stone monuments and related records of the Temple (appendix 1). The renovation reflects the development and evolution of renovation of temples and art of stone carvings from Qing Dynasty on. Besides, through these everlasting stone carvings and the stories inscribed in relief sculptures, and stone murals, the historical stories conveying loyalty, filial piety, chastity, and righteousness are passed down. The stories of the miracles of Matsu are like epics enriching the worshippers’ spiritual world in the sacred and solemn Guandu Temple.
The wood sculptures in Ling Xiao Hall are in the original wooden colors, in great contrast with the colorful and glamorous wood sculptures in San Chuan Hall and main hall. Except for the ceiling caisson in front of the hall, all the carvings are not processed with “safe paint.” Instead, they are only protected with transparent wood paint. Therefore, these works are in the original wooden color. The preservation of the original color is influenced by the trends of folk art. However, the main reason is that because these works are made of precious thousand-year camphor and cypress, with beautiful natural textures. If they are covered with gold and colorful paint in conventional methods, even though the works might present colorful traditional works, it seems a waste of the precious materials. The preservation of the original wooden color manifests the rarity and preciousness of the materials. In addition, the works in single color demonstrate the beauty of elegance and simplicity.
The forms of the stone carvings are complete; the topics are rich while the techniques are diverse. Some of them are made of stones conveyed to Taiwan at the bottom of the ship in early period of time and white rocks from Quanzhou; most of them are made of the stones in Qili’an and Mt. Guanyin. The stone carvings over the gate are made of ruby granite exported from India and limestone from Fujian (with even and delicate texture).