About Datong

Shanhua Temple

( chinadaily.com.cn )

update: 2011-09-28

Shanhua Temple
Shanhua Temple, originally known as Kaiyuan Temple, was built in the Kaiyuan period of the Tang dynasty (AD 713-741). It was destroyed by the war that occurred in the Liao dynasty (AD 1122) and was reconstructed in the periods of the Jin dynasty (AD 1128-1143). In the Ming dynasty, it was renamed as Shanhua Temple.

Shanhua Temple remains China's largest and the most complete temple of the Liao and Jin dynasties. Shanhua, a Buddhist term, means flowing water that can purify all sins. The temple is the holy place for Buddhist believers to clean their soul and strengthen their faith.

The main hall of the temple is spacious. The clay sculptures of the Liao and Jin are elegant in shape with a touch of distinctively flamboyant texture and charm, resembling fairies or gods in heaven. They are masterpieces of sculptural art and are national treasures as well.

A stele in the Sansheng Hall gives a comprehensive record of the destruction and reconstruction of the temple.

The inscriptions provide vivid expressions of how people were plunged into an abyss of misery amidst the flames of war, while Buddha and the devout monks were compassionate and merciful, bringing them righteousness and courage.

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