This post is a photographic presentation of monuments from the Licheng District of Quanzhou, Fujian, China.
Chengtian Temple is considered one of the Three Great Buddhist Temples in Quanzhou, alongside Kaiyuan Temple and Chongfu Temple.
The temple was first built between 957 and 958 with the name of “South Chan Temple”, under the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms (907–960). It was the South Garden of Liu Congxiao, a military governor in the Southern Tang dynasty (937–976).
In 1007, in the reign of Emperor Zhenzong of the Song dynasty (960–1279), the emperor inscribed and honored the name “Chengtian Temple”.
The Confucius Temple
The Confucius Temple lies inside Pangong on Zhongshan Street, Licheng District. It began to be built in the beginning of Taipingxingguo of the North song dynasty (976 A.D.), the largest Confucius Temple survival in South China. Dacheng Grand Hall is the main structure for offering a sacrifice to Confucius. It is constructed of seven rooms in face width and five sections in depth, bucket arched and the beams arranged in a crisscross pattern and painted or carved with dragons, birds, beasts, flowers and plants.
The columns of the hall are of stone. 72 pieces of rectangular-shaped stone are laid on the surface of the bridge symbolizing the 72 favorite disciples of onfucius. There are the side rooms on both sides, Dacheng gate in the front, and Jinshengyuzhen Gate.
Guan Yu & Yue Fei Temple
Kaiyuan Temple is a Buddhist temple in West Street, Quanzhou, China, the largest in Fujian province with an area of 78,000 square metres (840,000 sq ft). Although it is known as a “Hindu-Buddhist temple”, on account of added Tamil-Hindu influences, the main statue in the most important hall is that of Vairocana Buddha, the main Buddha according to Huayan Buddhism. What is now called the Mahavira Hall (Mahavira = the Great and Strong) is in fact the Vairocana Hall.
It was originally built in 685 or 686 during the Tang dynasty (618–907). The temple situated in the Mulberry garden of landlord Huang Shougong who was said to dream of a monk begging land from him for building a temple. He donated his garden and changed it into a temple with the name of “Lotus Temple”. In 738 in the Tang dynasty, it was renamed “Kaiyuan Temple”, which is still in use now.
Behind its main hall “Mahavira Hall”, there are some columns with fragments from a Shiva temple built in 1283 by the Tamil Ainnurruvar Valanjiyar Merchant community in Quanzhou dedicated to Hindu God Shiva. The carvings are dispersed across five primary sites in Quanzhou and the neighboring areas. They were made in the South Indian style, and share close similarities with 13th-century temples constructed in the Chola Nadu region in Tamil Nadu. Nearly all of the carvings were carved with greenish-gray granite, which was widely available in the nearby hills and used in the region’s local architecture.
The Silk trade by sea brought the South Indians to China and the Chinese to Southern Indian ports and it is very likely the Indians took the knowledge of Silk cultivation and fabrics from China back to India. China had a significant influence on South India; examples of Chinese fishing nets in Kochi and fine china pottery still referred to as “Chini chatti” or Chinese pot in Malayalam and Tamil.
Ruins of former Deji City Gate
Tianhou Temple was built in the second year of Qingyuan of Song Dynasty. It is the place where “foreign ships and passenger ships gathered”. Officials often hold ceremonies for merchant ships sailing to the sea.
It is also the place where the Quanzhou immigrants welcome the spirits of Mazu to go abroad for worship. It has great influence on Taiwan and Southeast Asia, and is an important ground for Mazu beliefs.
(Important Note: ALL photographs of this article added to the sourced texts by NovoScriptorium after kind courtesy of our friend Ben Lee – ALL photographs originally taken by Ben Lee)