To be explored soon…
Xuanmiao Temple is a prominent Taoist temple with a long history, located at the center of old Suzhou City.
The street along the east-west direction in front of the temple is called Guanqian Street, a famed business pedestrian street in Suzhou. A lane called Gong Xiang along north-south direction leads directly to the gate.
Xuanmiao Temple was founded in Xianning 2nd year (AD 276), Western Jin Dynasty, and was initially named “Zhenqing Daoyuan” (真庆道院). It was destroyed by wars in Southern Song Dynasty. It was rebuilt in the Chunxi era (1174–1189) of the reign of Emperor Xiaozong of Song, and was renamed Xuanmiao Guan in 1264. During the reign of the Kangxi Emperor in the Qing Dynasty, the temple was renamed Yuanmiao Guan (元妙观) to avoid naming taboo because the emperor’s personal name, Xuanye (玄烨), contained the Chinese character xuan (玄).
The first structure of the temple that visitors see is the Zheng Shan Men. It is built entirely from wood. The Zheng Shan Men is aligned south to north, with the main entrance facing south. It has two side entrances, in the east and west. The temple dates back to the Tang Dynasty. It suffered some damages in the eighteenth century and had to be rebuilt in 1775. The temple houses six statues of Taoist gods. There are also idols of four marshals and two generals. The temple’s flank has a tablet commemorating the restoration of the temple.
The Sanqing Hall is the main hall of the Xuanmiao Temple. There is a one-meter-long vertical plaque in the middle and upper part of the front of the hall. The three block letters “Sanqing Hall” are written by Tai Fu Jin Zhijun during the Kangxi period. Under the vertical plaque, there is a banner with the four characters “Miao Yi Tong Yuan”.
The hall is nine-bay, double-eaves and Xieshan style, 44 meters wide, 25 meters deep, and has a total area of 1,100 square meters. It is a wooden building in the Southern Song Dynasty. The center of the roof is made of iron three halberds. The dragon head is carved from Song Dynasty, about 3.5 square meters.
In the Sanqing Hall, the main gods are for the Three Qings, namely the Yuqing Yuanshi Tianzun in the middle, the Shangqing Lingbao Tianzun in the east, and the Taiqing Moral Tianzun in the west. Taoism believes that the three Qings are the incarnations of the Yuanshi Tianzun. Qing” said.
As a wooden structure in the Southern Song Dynasty, the Sanqing Palace is unique not only in the Jiangnan area, but in the whole country only the Hall of Supreme Harmony in the Forbidden City in Beijing and the Dacheng Hall in Qufu, Shandong Province can be compared, so it is well-deserved to be called a national treasure. Due to the important position of Sanqing Temple in the history of Chinese architecture, it was listed as a key cultural relics protection unit by the State Council in 1982.
Source: Your China Specialists