The Mysterious Taoist Temple,Suzhou, China
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The Mysterious Taoist Temple was built in 276 AD. This temple has been renovated many times due to damage sustained during the wars of past dynasties.
It is one of the most renowned tourist attractions in Suzhou as well as a key cultural relic under state protection.
The Mysterious Taoist Temple lies on the Guanqian Street at the center of Suzhou and is convenient to be accessed by taking No. 1, No. 3 and No. 5 Buses. The building of the Mysterious Taoist Temple began in the second year of the reign of Hanning in the West Jin Dynasty and is the monastery resort of the Taoist faction of Zhengyi.
It was originally called the Zhengqing Taoist Monastery and was renamed the Mysterious Taoist Temple in the Yuan Dynasty. In order to avoiding using the King’s name during the reign of Kangxi in the Qing Dynasty, the name was changed into the Xuanmiao Taoist Temple . In the early era of the Republic of China, the name of the Mysterious Taoist Temple was reused.
The most magnificent building of the Mysterious Taoist Temple is the Hall of Three Qings as the main hall which is spacious, towering and solemn. It is a wooden hall building of the Southern Song Dynasty with the largest scale in the south of the Yangtse River and holds a very important position in the history of building in China. In front of the temple is a broad heterogeneously built open-air terrace of green stones.
The terrace is surrounded by finely engraved railings of green stones in the eastern, southern and western sides, with a stepping battlement in each side. The relief sculptures of birds, beasts, figures and stories on the arch plate are after the customs handed down from the stone relieves of the Han Dynasties and are extremely exquisite, which are the relics from the Five Dynasties and the Southern Song Dynasty. On the sunk panel of the temple’s ceiling are all magnificent paintings of cranes, deer, clouds, and the instruments used by the Eight Immortals in the Taoist legend. The pedestal for the Statue of Xumi at the center of the hall is elaborately wrought.
Consecrated on the pedestal are the three statues of the ancestors of the Taoist faction of Three Seniors, Taiqing, Yuqing and Shangqing. Each of the statues of these three Qings is more than 15 meters high and is with brilliant golden lights, dignified postures, radiating vigor and natural and quality clothes, which makes them the excellent works in the Taoist sculptures of the Song Dynasty. There is also a stone portrait of Confucius carved after the painting drawn by Wu Daozi in the first year of the reign of Baoqing in the Southern Song Dynasty.
Just like the Heavenly Bridge in Beijing, the Town God ‘ s Temple in Shanghai and the Confucian Scholars’ Temple in Nanjing, the Mysterious Taoist Temple is also a busy traditional bazaar all through the ages with stores and stalls of snacks and vaudevilles standing in great numbers, where visitors to Suzhou would like to go sightseeing.
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