Linggu Temple in Nanjing

Memory Entanglement behind Dual Identity: National Revolutionary Army Cemetery and Linggu Temple in Nanjing




My archival research that led to this publication was inspired by my visit to the Linggu Temple in Nanjing. From 1929 to 1945, this Buddhist sanctuary was reconstructed under two different political regimes—the governments led by Chiang Kai-shek and Wang Jingwei—as a national cemetery to evoke the collective memory of the National Revolution in 1920s. However, after 1945, due to the political turmoil, the association of the Linggu Temple with the revolution gradually faded in the public memory. The Temple remained in its place, but its meaning was changed: in the second half of the 20th century, it served as a mere tourist attraction. This paper shows the complex interaction between different memories by compiling a contextualized story of the creation, transference and public impression of these memories. This allowed me to combine the history of this site with a historiographical perspective: my forthcoming paper tracks the history of the Temple and the cemetery as well as the historical memories associated with it.