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The ancient temple of Dule Temple is worth a visit

Dule Temple, also known as the Great Buddha Temple, is one of the three remaining Liao Dynasty temples in China, and it is also one of the famous ancient buildings that exist today. Although Dule Temple is a millennium-old famous temple, its history is quite obscure, with origins that cannot be traced. The earliest historical records of the temple date back to the tenth year of the Zhenguan era. Dule Temple is located on the north side of West Street in Jizhou District, originally built during the Tang Dynasty and rebuilt in the second year of the Tonghe era of the Liao Dynasty. The existing structures include the mountain gate, Guanyin Pavilion, the eleven-faced Guanyin, attendant Bodhisattvas, and Vajra figures. Its historical, scientific, and artistic values have impressed experts both at home and abroad, making it a unique treasure in the country. Mr. Chen Mingda, an ancient architecture scholar, once commented on the architecture of Dule Temple: 'The two buildings of Dule Temple (the mountain gate and Guanyin Pavilion) rank seventh in the age of existing ancient buildings in the country, but in terms of technical excellence and artistic quality, they should both be considered first. They can be described as the best of the best in existing ancient buildings, the finest example.' The mountain gate of Dule Temple is the earliest existing example of a Wu-dian style mountain gate in China. It is three bays wide and two bays deep, with the central bay serving as a passageway, the main entrance to the temple. A plaque hanging on the front of the mountain gate bears the three characters for 'Dule Temple,' written by Yan Song, a Grand Scholar of the Wuying Hall during the Ming Dynasty. Looking north from the mountain gate, one can see the main structure of Dule Temple, the Guanyin Pavilion. The Guanyin Pavilion is the earliest existing wooden multi-storied building in China, with a hip-and-gable roof. The upper part of the pavilion's front bears a plaque with the calligraphy 'Guanyin Pavilion,' written by the Tang Dynasty poet Li Bai. The lower part bears a plaque with the inscription 'Fully Accomplished,' written by the Xianfeng Emperor of the Qing Dynasty. Inside the pavilion, there are statues of the eleven-faced Guanyin, attendant Bodhisattvas, the Guanyin of the Sea Island, and the Garan deity. The main statue of the eleven-faced Guanyin is 16 meters tall, and the pavilion has four-cornered and hexagonal wells, allowing the Guanyin statue to pass through the second and third floors, reaching the top of the pavilion's 'Douba' caisson. It is one of the largest existing clay standing statues in China. On both sides of the Guanyin statue, there is an attendant Bodhisattva. The faces are full, the shapes are symmetrical, the lines are smooth, and the postures are graceful. They are in line with the Tang Dynasty's paintings of court ladies and are treasures of Liao Dynasty sculpture art. The lower walls of the Guanyin Pavilion are adorned with murals, which take the Buddhist Sixteen Arhats as the theme, interspersed with Buddhist myths, secular subjects, and images of believers, forming a group of large-scale paintings with independent content that are interconnected. According to experts, these murals have a Yuan Dynasty style and were repainted during the Ming Dynasty. From the perspective of painting art, they are considered first-class in the country. Dule Temple
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Posted: Apr 10, 2024
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Dule Temple

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