Pak Mei Pai Altars 白眉派神檯

In traditional Chinese Martial Arts schools you will almost always find an altar. This altar is for honouring and paying respect to the kungfu ancestors (拜祖 Baizu) a kind of memorial. In Chinese the altar is called a Zai Tan (祭壇 Jitan), Zai means to "offer" and Tan is altar. In Chinese Martial Arts school the altar is called a "martial shrine" or San Toi (神檯 Shentai, literal Spirit table).

When a student enters the training hall he pays his respects to the altar with a short bow or a salute. More official is three bows with 3 sticks of incense (more known as "kowtau" 叩頭 literal knock head) that are left on the altar in a jar with sand. Or the offerings of paper money, candles, food and drinks. The last two are usually refreshed every day. The food, drinks and paper money are for the deceased masters to have in their afterlife's. The incense and candles (these days often replaced by red lights) should send a signal to the heavens in hopes that they watch over and bless the training in the hall. The nice fragrance and the rising smoke from the fire should please the ancestors or Gods in the altar and tempt their spirit to attendance.

On the altar you can find for instance a picture with text or only texts (creed) and the usual items as incense, food, etc. In Pak Mei schools you see many times a picture of Grandmaster Cheung Lai Chun (張禮泉宗師) with characters.

Altar Cheung Lai Chun

Below you see the character boards that are hanging in the back of Cheung Lai Chun.

Altar Cheung Lai Chun Left

Altar Cheung Lai Chun Right


Song Saan Sat Noi Hin Kei (cantonese):
Song Shan Shi Nei Xian Gi Gong (pinyin)

Baak Mei Cyun Sau Zan Miu Sau (cantonese)
Bai Mei Chuan Shou Zhen Miao Shou (pinyin)

Lee Family Pak Mei Altar

In the Pak Mei Family school of the Lee Sai Keung (李世強師公) lineage we usually use an other altar. It has no picture on it and consist only of text (poem).

  Text top (cantonese): Jyun Fo Fung
Text top (pinyin): Yuan Huo Feng
English: Wind Fire Hall (r to l)
 
  Lee Sai Keung Altar Top  
Text left (cantonese):
Si Fu Zan Cyun Fu Pau Jin

Text left (pinyin):
Shi Fu Zhen Chuan Hu Bao Xing

English:
master (sifu) transmits tiger and
leopard (forms)
Lee Sai Keung Altar Middle Text right (cantonese):
Sin Jan Zi Dim Lung Se Seot

Text right (pinyin):
Xian Ren Zhi Dian Long She Shu

English:
immortal(s) teach dragon and
snake art

 

Text middle (cantonese): Baak Mei Zou Si San Wai
Text middle (pinyin): Bai Mei Zu Shi Shen Wei
(English): White Eyebrow grandmaster (founder) altar (spirit place)

     

Pak Mei altar in Hong Kong

Altar Pak Mei Yuen Long