Ancient Chinese Temples

Temples represent the rich culture and long history of Ancient China. It served as a house of worship for different religions in China including Taoism, Buddhism, Confucianism, Islam, and Christianity.

In addition, the temple culture also left a lasting impact on the lives of Chinese people as it is being constantly used as a subject on sculptures, paintings, and architecture.

In most cases, the dimensions of each temple vary depending on the ceremonies and rituals performed.

Ordinarily, Buddhist temples are comprised of a grotto, a temple, and a pagoda which are referred to as the Shiku, Si, and Ta by Chinese people.

Taoist temples, on the other hand, are often called as the An, Guan, or Gong while Confucian temples are primarily known as the Tan, Gong, or Miao.

Among the most popular Confucian temples in China is the Yonghe Lama Temple which is located in the heart of the city of Beijing.

It contains three Bodhisattva monuments that are made up of bronze and the main room which is called the Hall of Harmony and Peace.

Another popular Ancient Chinese temple is the Wannian Temple on Mount Emei. Situated in the Sichuan Province, old Chinese people believed that a special kind of frog lived within the rectangular pond to the right of the temple.

According to an old Chinese legend, people used to hear melodic sounds from the pond in the evening.

Jokhang Temple

Interesting Facts about Ancient Chinese Temples

  • The Jokhang Temple in Lhasa is considered as the holiest place for the pilgrims of Tibetan Buddhist. It is made up of a life-sized Buddha statue and organizes the Great Prayer Festival from January to March.
  • Most Taoist temples are constructed within the side of a mountain. These types of temples are normally divided into three specific categories which include simple hut or cave temples, ordinary temples, and palace-like temples.
  • The royal family worshipped at the Daxiangguo Temple in Ziyou Road. The Daxiangguo Temple also hosted and organized national Buddhist activities.
  • The White Horse Temple is known as the cradle land of Chinese Buddhism. It was constructed during the Han dynasty by Emperor Liu Zhuang. Additionally, the White Horse Temple is also made up of several halls which include the Hall of Mahavira, the Hall of Guidance, the Hall of Heavenly Kings, and the Hall of Great Buddha.
  • The Temple of Heaven in Beijing is recognized as the holiest temples of Imperial China. The structure which was built in 1420 is listed by UNESCO as a World Cultural Heritage.
  • Chinese temples were utilized by local production teams as a storehouse during the Mao era.
  • The Daxiangguo Temple exhibits a wooden carving monument of Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva that can be found on the Octagonal Glazed Hall.
  • A wide range of important Buddhist relics can be seen on the Famen Temple.

Daxiangguo Temple

When was the Wannian Temple constructed?

The Wannian Temple was first constructed in the Eastern Jin dynasty and was rebuilt in 1953 after it was destroyed by a fire.

Who built the Yonghe Temple?

The Yonghe Temple was constructed in the Qing dynasty by Emperor Yongzheng. It hosted a temple fair during the Spring Festival.

Where are most temples located in?

More often than not, Ancient Chinese Temples are made up of halls, shrines, and a myriad of buildings.

Normally, temples are located in the middle of each Chinese town and exhibit north and south axes.

It is, however, essential to note that most temple buildings typically consist of yellow and green tiled roofs for good luck symbols.

Temple of Heaven

What are the treasures of the Wannian Temple?

Apart from its rich history, the Wannian Temple also exhibits three treasures which include the Tooth of Buddha, the Beamless Hall, and the Puxian Buddha.