月眉池畔合院居

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1992 / 10月

文‧蔡文婷 圖‧鄭元慶


合院是中國人傳統的生活空間,然而隨著高樓大廈拔地而起,這樣的生活情調已經漸行漸遠。

 

位於彰化縣社頭鄉楠雅村的月眉池劉氏宅落卻是少數例外。由於宗族的凝聚及農業的人手需求,它不但沒有被改建,反而由一個ㄇ字形的簡單三合院,擴增為左右十三條護龍、前後三落,可以聚上兩百戶住家的組群。

 

月眉人過得是什麼樣的生活?


從彰化轉向員林,沿途「員林世家」、「羅浮宮天廈」等歐式樣品屋參差座落,取代了一座座原本常見的合院。

按照月眉池靈魂人物,也是連任三屆的楠雅村村長劉丁宗描述,沿著八卦山脈方向直走山腳路,就到他們家。「站牌就叫月眉池,阮的月眉型大水池就在路邊,你來就看到啦!」

的確,從公路望過水池,劉宅大組群相當醒目。合院四周密植的刺竹林和前方大水池,加上右邊入口處為保衛五方土地安靖而奉祠的「眾爺廟」,形成一個天然的「保全系統」。從公路轉入小路,生人未入大埕,埕上小狗就汪汪吠起,警告生人已經闖入他們家領域啦!

「竹圍加上半月池,正是一個大圓,所以大廳匾額刻著『團圓堂』」,劉丁宗強調這圓滿的合抱,不只是防盜止匪而已。

坐觀水月、明察內外

水池邊,祭祀公業值年的三房八世劉永和,正在剁牧草給魚吃,池塘裡的漁獲收入將納入公基金,支付這一年正廳香燭、家族節慶謝戲的支出。

除了漁產、排水洩洪或調節乾濕度,月眉池畔竹叢下,石椅三兩張,男人們愛這兒的好景緻,常在午後結群閒坐,隔著水池看公路上往來人車,討論公路外公業水稻的成長情況;而大埕上慢踱的雞鴨、剛坐上學步車咿呀前行的孫輩,更添此處「風景」無限。

經常路經月眉池,在劉家人招呼下加入龍門陣的蕭森雄表示,月眉池畔過了子夜,常有睡不著覺的歐吉桑三兩對酌;冬天晚上,則有少年家起火堆、烤魷魚。「晚上水影映月光,涼風微微吹,魚都忍不住跳出來唱歌哦!」已當了祖父的蕭森雄浪漫地形容。

擺陣中,大家公推七十三歲的劉萬得介紹月眉池今昔。老先生指著一排排護龍說著日據時代,家人怎麼挖起田中深土,混入剁碎的乾稻草,叫牛踩勻了,再放入模子中作成土埆;地基的石頭則撿自後山,這麼就地取材蓋起棲身之所。「土埆厝雖然涼快,但是容易聚生老鼠、蜈蚣和蜘蛛」,劉萬得表示,到了光復後,才逐漸改成磚房子,近來又有人抹水泥、貼磁磚。「原為土底的大埕也一樣,下雨發草生苔,曬穀子也不乾淨,現在都改鋪水泥了!」

一旁比他小七歲,卻長他一輩的劉政岳鬥起嘴來:「曬穀子!現在種田輕鬆多了,插秧、收割、烘穀子都有專業代工,哪還有誰曬穀子!」

不曬穀子曬被子

大埕上,雖不見農作物,但是停了七、八部小轎車,地上還劃有孩子學騎摩托車的S型路線。早晚則有賣豆漿、賣魚肉蔬果及點心的小貨車前來作生意。一個抱著孩子的主婦笑說:「這種生活比你們都市方便吧!」看來大埕的生產功能已為休閒取代。

第十一世的劉森派,則記得村長幼子「豬哥仔」結婚時,在大埕席開五十多桌。而妹婿來娶妹妹時,則得捧著香煙,繞遍每條巷弄,感謝家族鄰里對他新婦的關愛。

嫁到台中住進大樓的劉美麗,說她最懷念的是在大埕曬棉被。「住在大樓,別說曬棉被,連晾個幾件衣服都手腳伸無出路。」

石旗座好涼背

大埕向內行,一道紅磚矮花牆,牆上一只天公爐,劃出了內埕的範圍和較外埕尊密的定位。過年拜拜、中元普渡,打開正廳大門,擺不下的牲禮供果,就延伸到了內埕。

正廳也叫公媽廳,奉祀劉氏開台祖天極公下四房祖先牌位。因為是全家宅最高、最重要的中心,採光、通風特別好,加上地上鋪石磚,夏天常有孩子在裡面嬉耍、午睡。下雨天則有大一點的孩子在此玩牌。只有遇到喪事停放棺木時,正廳才會肅靜個把月。

就像合院入口處兩座石旗座,是三房三世元炳公高中武舉人時朝廷封賜的。老人常會靠坐在上面聊天,石頭沁背的冰涼是夏天消暑好方法;孩子們對它則另有妙用——把它當基座來放沖衝天砲。尊重的意義仍在,但日常生活上,大可不必那麼嚴肅。

神明廳前會議室

正廳後一落,是奉關帝爺的神廳「廣化堂」,神廳兩側擺了三、四十把折疊椅,每當家族有公共事務要討論,村長就透過麥克風,招呼大家來開會。

去年秋天,正廳兩座四.六尺高的老神龕給不肖之徒趁夜搬走,家族們才在這兒開過會。村長直嘆息是近年來搬出去的人多了,正廳兩側廂房沒人住,才會被偷得「神」不知、鬼不覺。一位歐巴桑一旁發言:「咱的祖公也真憨,怎麼不會讓小偷跌一跤、出個聲,那大家一出來抓,加上四邊竹圍,伊那媔]得掉!」會後決定每戶繳交一千元,卻在大家踴躍樂捐下,超出預算共籌得十萬元,到鹿港訂製了新神龕。

中軸線上的兩廳每逢年節都要熱鬧幾回,而左右的十三條護龍及其間巷弄,卻是從早到晚都是生氣十足的生活空間。

院內有親族、巷弄識鄰里

清晨五、六點,家家鍋鏟聲連串響過寬一公尺半的巷子,廚房內瓦斯爐煎蛋,屋後燒柴的小爐子燒水或燉湯、熬稀飯,升起炊煙縷縷。村長解釋,後山種滿龍眼,殘枝落葉不少,而龍眼是耐燒硬柴,不用很可惜,所以早晚炊飯時間,月眉池會籠上一層淡淡煙霧和柴煙味。

小爐子可燒水,屋內的大灶,則在過年時,攪年糕、蒸蘿蔔糕用,也提供了婦女們一個公共聚會的場合。

巷弄中,已是外人不能輕易踏入的所在。簷下的半戶外空間,既涼又亮,早上未上後山養雞場的先生坐在前簷台階上看報;四處走動的孩子,從這龍吃到那龍;主婦們則喜歡坐在這兒慢慢撿菜、剝豆子,或做起家庭手工。

你家後巷原是我家前院,主婦們就邊做家事邊聊天。撿完菜接著洗衣服,不過一個小簷廊,使用起來竟是千變萬化。聊天串門子也是自然而隨興,話可長到洗完一家子衣服,也可以一聲招呼、問聲菜價,然後各忙各的。

家家戶戶沒廁所?

生活空間簡單,生活情調並不枯燥。月眉池人對居住環境的詮釋也非住慣套房的現代人可以理解。

目前居住的近七十戶,只有四戶裝了現代衛浴,上廁所得到前埕邊公廁,不然就跑到後山竹叢。

後山竹叢?「沒那麼困難啦!」五十六年次的劉森林表示,「冬天比較辛苦,上完廁所回來,被窩都涼了。不過也還好啦!一天不過就那麼一次嘛!」說完哈哈大笑。

而一生在田堣u作的劉湖,兒子、女婿覺得夏天屋內溫度太高,在臥室、客廳各裝了一台冷氣機,體貼老爸。然而劉湖除了孩子回來作客,疼惜小孫子才打開,平常都「備而不用」。「做田人,冷氣吹久,怎麼有耐力下田工作?我看還是電風來吹吹卡自然啦!」

從土埆茅屋到水泥磁磚,護龍隨人口增加而左右擴展;隨著人口外流,又留了些空房。有的房間改成儲藏室,有的變成小印刷廠的辦公室,有的則塞進一個迷你紡織加工廠。空屋的靈活運用,使合院不但可以安居,也可以樂業。

在隔一片稻田相鄰,同是劉族的崎腳組群,則刻意保留了一間空屋原貌,成為家族博物館。屋內放著日據時的劉族才子劉永府的手跡、獎狀,還有父母畫像;原本的太師椅、小茶几也原封未動。每有外人前來,老弟弟就會打開塵封已久的大門和往事,娓娓追溯。

這是我的家

日出而作,日落而息,又是一天的結束。南台灣的夕陽似乎特別金黃,照在西向的大廳上,一時間金光璀璨,莊嚴富足。陽光伴隨騎著腳踏車回家的孩子,將影子長長拉向內埕。這月眉池清晨、傍晚的不同情調,或許在他日後事業有成,住進高樓大廈後,仍會不經意的浮現眼前?

〔圖片說明〕

P.20

到家了!由於劉家合院前月眉形水池已成當地「地標」,連公車站名都叫「月眉池」。

P.20

(右)養魚的大水池,屬於「祭祀公業」的一部分,每年交由各房子孫輪流照顧、經營。

P.22

月眉池劉宅組群示意圖〔圖表〕

資料來源:賴志彰

繪圖:李淑玲

P.22

隔了道紅磚牆,加上一座天公爐,由大埕到內埕,再跨入正廳,層層「地位」涵義不同。

P.22

劉氏族人取出祖先畫像,在土埆厝前向來人介紹家族史。自從正廳遭小偷之後,這「古董級」畫像隻在過年時,才再掛回正廳。

P.24

屋舍後的山坡地,遍植龍眼樹。入秋時節,烘烤龍眼乾,也是月眉池的生活之一。

P.24

吃點心囉!傍晚時分,賣麵的小貨車來到月眉池大埕上,今天可賣了卅多碗呢!

P.25

池畔竹叢下,板凳三、兩張。坐觀內外風景、閒話你我家常。

P.26

鋪條被單,巷弄中,烤肉、賞月、剝龍眼,好不熱鬧。

P.27

中秋夜裡,孩子們頭戴柚皮帽,手拿仙女棒,穿梭護龍巷弄中。

相關文章

近期文章

EN

The Ho-Yuan Courtyard Residence of Yuemeichih

Ventine Tsai /photos courtesy of Cheng Yuan-ching /tr. by Christopher Hughes

The traditional living space of the Chinese people has always been formed by the ho yuan courtyard building. However, following the erection of high-rise blocks, the kind of lifestyle it enabled has gradually moved further and further away.

Nanya village's Yuemeichih hamlet in changhua County is one of the few exceptions. Due to the binding of clan ties and the manpower required by farming, not only has it not been altered, but its original three-sided courtyard building has seen the addition of 13 auxiliary hu-lung (protective dragon) buildings at its sides, creating living space for a clan of some 200 families in two blocks. So what kind of life do they live?


Turning towards Yuanlin from Changhua, the irregular, European-style houses with names such as "Yuanlin World" and "Louvre Mansion" have replaced the courtyard complexes that used to be a common sight.

According to the directions given by Liu Ting-tsung, the headman of Yuemeichih and thrice mayor of Nanya village, you follow the road along the foot of the mountains in the direction of the Pakua range to arrive at his home. "It is signposted 'Yuemeichih' (crescent-moon pond) and there is a crescent-shaped pond by the road. You will see it when you come!"

In fact, looking over the pond from the highway, it is the Liu clan dwelling that strikes one's eye. The spiked bamboo groves surrounding the courtyard house on all sides and the pond at the front, with the addition of a temple guarding the entrance on the right, work together to form a natural "security system." As you turn from the highway down a lane a small dog starts to bark before you even enter the courtyard, alerting the residents that strangers have already invaded their home territory!

"The bamboo and crescent pond really make a big circle, so the sign over the main hall reads 'reunion hall,'" says Liu Ting-tsung, stressing that this perfect encirclement is not just a defense against bandits.

Sitting under the moon, surveying all about: By the pond, Liu Yung-ho -- of the eighth generation of the clan branch which occupies the third hall--is cutting grass to feed to the fish. The income made from the pond stock is put into a community chest and used to pay for the year's incense and festivals.

Apart from the pond being used for fishing, flood control and improving the atmosphere, some stone benches have also been placed under the bamboo groves on the banks of the pond. The men love to come here for the scenery, often congregating to rest in the afternoon and watch the cars on the highway and discuss the growth of the communal paddy-fields beyond. Meanwhile, chickens and ducks amble about in the main courtyard as toddlers in baby-walkers babble and enhance the scene even more.

Hsiao Sen-hsiung, whose road often passes Yuemeichih so that he gets invited in by the Liu family, says that at midnight on the banks of Yuemeichih, there are often two or three sleepless men drinking together, while on winter evenings the youngsters will light a fire and barbecue cuttlefish. "When the moon is reflected in the water and there is a gentle breeze, the fish cannot restrain themselves from leaping up and singing!" describes Hsiao, who is already a grandfather.

In the hamlet everybody prods 73-year-old Liu Wan-te to talk about Yuemeichih's past. The old man first points at the rows of hu-lung and tells of how, in the period of the Japanese occupation, the family had to dig deep in the fields for earth, mix in chopped rice straw, get a cow to trample it flat then put in a frame to make bricks; the stones for the foundations were collected from the mountain behind, and this then became a place on which to erect a building. "Although the earth and stone bricks were cool, they easily attracted mice, centipedes and spiders," he recalls. It was only after Taiwan's retrocession to China that they began to gradually change to real brick houses. Recently there have also been people using concrete and tiles. "The original dirt main courtyard was the same, sprouting grass and moss when it rained, and it got dirty when you dried rice husks under the sun. Now everyone has changed to using concrete!"

To his side is Liu Cheng-yueh, seven years Liu Wan-te's junior but one generation his senior, who says, "Drying under the sun! Now it is much easier to plant the fields, there is special equipment for putting in rice seedlings, harvesting and drying out the husks. Who needs to dry husks under the sun anymore!?"

Not roasting husks but drying quilts: In the courtyard, although you cannot see crops, seven or eight small sedans are parked and children are learning how to ride curves on a motorbike. A peddler comes mornings and evenings to sell soya milk, fish, fruit and snacks. A housewife carrying a small child says with a smile, "This kind of life is more convenient than yours in the city!" It seems as though the productive function of the courtyard has been supplanted by leisure.

Liu Sen-pai, of the eleventh-generation of the Lius, remembers that when the eldest son of the headman got married there were more than 50 tables in the courtyard. And when his brother-in-law came to marry his younger sister, he brought cigarettes and toured every alley to pay his respects and thank the family and neighbors for looking after his wife.

Liu Mei-li, who has married and gone to live in a high-rise in Taichung, says that what she remembers most was drying cotton quilts under the sun in the courtyard. "Living in a high-rise, do not even talk about drying a quilt under the sun. Even when you air a few items of clothing, the arms and legs get stretched and you cannot go out in them anymore."

Stone flag holders make good back coolers: Going in from the main courtyard you come to a small, decorated, red-brick wall on which there is a hearth for the Tien Kung gods, which gives the inner courtyard a more reverential position than the outer. It's main door is thrown open for major festivals and offerings are spread into the inner courtyard.

The ancestral hall contains ancestral tablets for worshipping the Liu ancestors of the first four houses established by the Liu's who pioneered the opening up of Taiwan. Because it is the highest and most important center of the whole house, the light and ventilation are particularly good, in addition to which it also has a brick floor. In summer, children lark about and take afternoon naps here, while on rainy days they come to play cards. Only when there is a funeral and the coffin is placed inside for the wake does peace descend on the ancestral hall.

It is much the same with the two stone flagpole stands by the entrance to the courtyard, gifts from the imperial court to a distant ancestor who did well in the examinations. The old people often sit against these stones, the feeling of their cool surfaces against the back being just the thing to alleviate the summer heat. Children have another use for them, taking them as a base from which to let off fire-work rockets. Their reverential significance is still there, only in everyday life today it is now not quite so serious.

The hall of the gods as a meeting room: Behind the ancestral hall is the room for worshipping the gods. Against its sides are placed thirty or forty folded chairs. Every time there is an issue that should be discussed by the community, the village head gets a microphone and summons everybody to a meeting.

In autumn last year the ancestral hall's two 1.5 meter high shrines were stolen in the night, so the clan held a meeting in the hall of the gods. The headman lamented that a lot of people had moved out recently, and that it was only when nobody was living in the houses either side of the ancestral hall that thieves could steal the shrines without anyone realizing it. One housewife chipped in from the wings, "Our ancestors are also easily fooled. Why didn't they make the thieves trip up or make some noise, then everyone could have nabbed them. With the bamboo all round, where could they have run to!" Following the meeting it was decided that every household should give NT$1,000, but with everyone happy to make a donation, they surpassed what they aimed for and collected a total of NT$100,000, with which they ordered a new shrine to be made in Lukang.

These two halls lying on the central axis bustle with activities on festival days, and the surrounding thirteen hu-lung and their dividing alleys are all filled with life from morning to night.

Relatives in the courtyard, close neighbors in the alleys: At five or six in the morning the sounds of cooking fill the 1.5m-wide alleys, with eggs being fried on the gas stoves in the kitchens, while at the backs of the houses water, soup and rice gruel is boiled on wood stoves which send up spirals of smoke. The village head explains that the mountain at the back is full of longan trees, and there are a lot of dead branches and leaves which make convenient tinder. At cooking times in the mornings and evenings a cloud goes up over Yue-meichih and there is a mild smell of smoke.

The small stoves can boil water, while the big hearths inside the houses can be used for cooking cakes for New Year, steaming turnip cakes and provide a meeting place for housewives.

The alleys are places where it is not easy for an outsider to enter. Cool and light, in the morning the men who manage the poultry farms on the mountainside sit under the eaves reading the newspaper, while everywhere children move about the hu-lung. The housewives like to sit here slowly preparing their vegetables and shelling beans, or doing the household chores.

One family's back alley is another's front yard, so housewives can do their housework as they chat. Preparing vegetables and washing clothes -- although these are only small corridors they are open to an endless number of uses. Visiting neighbors for a chat is also a natural pastime, and the conversation can last for as long as it takes to do the laundry, or could just be a call to ask about the price of vegetables, after which everyone will attend to their own affairs.

No toilets: Life might be simple, but it is not barren. An explanation of the living environment of the people of Yuemeichih is not something that modern apartment dwellers can easily understand.

At present there are nearly 70 families living there, and only four of them have modern sanitation. To go to the toilet you must use one of the public conveniences in the main courtyard or rush to the bamboo thickets. Bamboo thickets? "It is not so difficult!" says 25-year-old Liu Sen-lin. "It worse in winter. When you come back from the courtyard toilet your blanket is cold, but it is alright! It is only once a day!" he laughs.

The son and daughter-in-law of Liu Hu, who has spent his life laboring in the fields, say that the rooms are too hot in summer. In the bedroom and sitting room they have installed air conditioning out of consideration for their old father. However, apart from turning on the air conditioning for his grandchildren when he has his children as guests, Liu Hu usually does not use it. "If you are a field laborer and there is too much air conditioning, how can you stand to go out and work in the fields? In my view an electric fan is still the most natural!"

From earth and stone houses to concrete and tiles, the hu-lung expanded all round as the population increased. Following the flow of people leaving, there are now some empty houses. Some of the rooms have become store rooms and some are now the offices of a small printing works, while others are crammed with a mini textile factory. This vital use of space means that the courtyard is not only secure, but can also enjoy doing business.

Separated by an adjacent paddy-field, the original appearance of one empty house has been preserved and it has been turned into a clan museum. Inside have been placed the works and prizes of Liu Yung-fu, a gifted member of the Liu family in the period of the Japanese occupation, along with parental portraits; the original curved-back armchair and teapoy have also not been moved. Every time someone comes from outside, one of the clan members will open the weathered old door and go in to tirelessly trace back his roots.

This is my home: They work at sunrise and rest at sundown, which also marks the end of the day. The sunset in southern Taiwan seems to be par ticularly golden, and as it shines into the west-facing main hall it illuminates it with a fiery glow. A child riding home on his bicycle is pursued by the rays which stretch out his silhouette towards the inner courtyard. Perhaps, if the child does well in his future work, after he moves into a high-rise block the different atmospheres of morning and evening at Yuemeichih will at times come floating before his eyes.

Plan of the Liu Clan Hamlet of Yuehmeichih[Picture]

Source: Lai Chih-chang

Diag ram: Lee Su-ling

[Picture Caption]

Home! Because the crescent moon shaped lake in front of the Liu dwelling has become a landmark, even the bus stop is called Yuemeichih.

(Right) Each year the descendants of a different house must take care of and manage the lake for fish farming as part of the "sacrifice to communal industry."

Past a red brick wall with an altar to Tien Kung, from the main courtyard and stepping into the ancestral hall, each place conjures up different associations.

The Lius made a point of using their ancestral portraits to introduce their clan history to us. Following the burglary of the ancestral hall, these antique pictures are now only hung there for New Year.

Longan trees are planted on the slope of the mountain behind the dwelling. With the coming of autumn, drying longans becomes part of life at Yuemeichih.

Eat some snacks! In the evening a noodle peddler's van comes to Yuemeichih's main courtyard and sells more than 30 bowls of food.

The benches under the bamboo grove on the bank of the lake are ideal for surveying the scene or chatting about domestic affairs.

Barbecued meat and longans on a blanket under the moon--What fun!

At the Mid-Autumn Festival children wearing fruit-skin hats wave sparkle rs in the alleys between the hu-lung.

 

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