china edition


Datong - Shanhua Temple

Shanxi - Datong - Pingyao - Taiyuan

Shanhua TempleLocated inside the south gate of Datong City, is Shanhua Temple (also called Nan Temple or South Temple). Shanhua Temple was originally founded during the Tang dynasty but it was destroyed by war at the end of the Liao dynasty. During the Jin dynasty it was rebuilt on a large scale. The extant layout is the best-preserved temple of the Liao and Jin dynasties. Covering an area of nearly 14, 000 square meter, Shanhua Temple has 3 main buildings: the Gate, the Hall of the Three Saints and the most important building, Da Xiong Bao Dian.

In the Hall of the Three Saints, stand 3 statues representing Sakyamuni, Bodhisattva Puxian and Bodhisattva Wenshu--the Three Saints of Huayan in Buddhism. In Da Xiong Bao Dian reside 5 gold-coated statues of Tathagata Buddha, called Wu Fang Fo, which are original statues from the Jin dynasty. On the eastern and western sides of these 5 statues, there are 24 gods, beautifully and realistically shaped. Among them, the God of the Sun's Palace and the God of the Moon's Palace are artistic masterpieces from the Jin dynasty. There is one palace on each side of the Da Xiong Bao Dian. One is the palace of Bodhisattva Puxian and the other is the palace ruins of Bodhisattva Wenshu.

The temple looks very spiritual and solemn. Only a Five-Dragon Screen made from a colored glaze adds a trace of cheerful atmosphere.