Kun Ting Study Hall

Location and Access

Kun Ting Study Hall is north of Hung Shing Temple. It is located north of Ping Ha Road in Hang Mei Tsuen. Visitors could take the Light Rail Transit and alight at Ping Shan Station, then walk for about 15 minutes along Ping Ha Road to the direction of Ping Shan.

Shut Hing Study Hall in Tong Fong Tsuen has been demolished, leaving remains of granite door frame and stone plaque

The Four Major Study Halls in Ping Shan

During the imperial age, obtaining high ranks in public examinations was the only way for the populace to embark on an official career, and scholars were also highly respected as a tradition. Therefore, many affluent clans were very serious about high quality schooling for their members. Education not only assisted their descendants to obtain official ranks which meant more wealth and power, but also brought much honour to the family.

The ancestral halls in many villages were very often used as private study halls. Teachers were employed to teach the lineage's members. Better-off villages would build separate study halls for education.

There were altogether four study halls in Ping Shan Heung, which reflected the opulence and the scholarly atmosphere of the area. The study halls were namely Shut Hing Study Hall in Tong Fong Tsuen, Ng Kui Study Hall in Hang Tau Tsuen and Yeuk Hui Study Hall and Kun Ting Study Hall in Hang Mei Tsuen.

History and Functions

A bird's eye view of Kun Ting Study Hall and Ching Shu Hin

Kun Ting Study Hall was established by Tang Ying Shan, a Tang member in 1870, to commemorate his father, Tang Kun Ting. He came first in the public examination of village scale in 1837. In 1898 when the British troops took control of the New Territories, Kun Ting Study Hall was used as their headquarters for several months. After the chaos was suppressed, the Hong Kong government sent one English and one Chinese teacher to teach village children. As such, Kung Ting Study Hall could be regarded as the first public school in Hong Kong. Subsequent to the abolition of the public examination system by the Qing government, the study hall remained in use as a school until early 1950's.

Kun Ting Study Hall had multi functions as a school, a place of worship and feast. There were study rooms for lineage members and a chamber for ancestors and deities worship. The study hall was linked to Ching Shu Hin, in which there was a large kitchen and a spacious courtyard for holding banquets.

The big stove inside Ching Shu Hin adjoining the Study Hall

Plaques showing official achievements are hung in the corridor between Kun Ting Study Hall and Ching Shu Hin

A tablet with an inscription of 'Shun Tak Tong' was hung in the central chamber of the study hall. The inscription was written by Leung Ching, a person of Shunde county origin in 1884. There is an antithetical couplet (now moved to Ching Shu Hin) written by Lam Shiu Tong, the Chuan-yuen of Guangdong, which means 'To be generous is something to be most happy with' and the motto says 'the most important virtue of all is to practice gratitude'. It could be observed that the Tangs in Ping Shan had close contact with the officials in the Pearl River Delta area. There is no mention of time on the plaque hung on the main entrance of Kun Ting Study Hall, but it is believed that it is an artefact dating back to the foundation of the study hall.

The main entrance of Kun Ting Study Hall, over which a plaque showing the name of the Study Hall is hung

The plaque of 'Shun Tak Tong' hung in the central chamber

The calligraphy of 'Shun Tak Tong' on the plaque was done by Leung Ching of the Shunde county. Elaborate carvings are found on the edge

A pair of antithetical couplet composed by the Chuan-yuen of Guangdong