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Confucius reflection upon religious structures (2)

2012-12-17 14:07     Web Editor: Wang YuXia comment

The Jin Ancestral Temple

The Jin Ancestral Temple for worshipping Shuyu, brother of ChengWang, granted the title in Shanxi during the WesternZhou Dynasty, is located in the southwest of Taiyuan. Both the Shengmu Hall in the extant ancestral temple and the Yuzhao Feiliang were built in theNorthern Song Dynasty. Xiandian Hall was rebuilt during the Jin Dynasty, and others were constructed in later generations. What is called "Feiliang" here is across plane stone bridge erected over a square pond named "Yuzhao". The cross center was expanded into a square terrace. Many of the Tang and Song dynasty murals seen inDunhuangare all in front of the big hall. Before the hall is a pond named jingtu (pure land), in the center of which stands a platform, leading to Tongqiao on all four sides, displaying the characteristics of the seven treasure ponds and eight beneficent waters in the Buddhist state, as described in the Amitabha scripture believed in by jingtuzong, a Buddhist sect. Chinese ancestral temples and Taoist buildings often follow the example of Buddhist monasteries, and this is one such example.

Shengmudian Hall is a multi-eaved, Chinese-hip-and-gable building. There are two in-depth rooms under the front eave which are very spacious. A statue of Shengmu (mother of Shuyi) , was placed in the shrine within the hall. By the side of the shrine, and along the wall, there are famous colored sculptures of the Song Dynasty. The 38 statues of beautiful maids, and maids of the imperial palace and four mole statues have a lively and charming look.

The Shengmu ancestral hall is under the shade on all sides and flanked by meandering water, making it an ideal tourist area in central Shanxi since ancient times. There are many temples, and it has actually become a social recreational center, so that the worshipping atmosphere is no longer strong. Therefore, the total plane layout is made by appropriately taking into consideration this nature. For example, there are no enclosed walls around the Shengmu ancestral hall itself. It is blended with the outer space, and Surrounded by numerous ancestral temples that make it open and lively. The spacious Xiandian Half, the rippling and overflowing Yuzhao Feiliang and Shengmudian Hall, empty, bright and fluttering in appearance, all play up this lucid and lively atmosphere.

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