Impressive monuments from Henan, China; Longmen Grottoes – White Horse temple – Guan Yu’s mausoleum

This post is mostly a photographic presentation of monuments from the Luolong District from the city of Luoyang, Henan province, China.


Longmen Xiangshan temple

Xiangshan Temple (NovoScriptorium: photo above) is located in the west of Xiangshan, south of Luoyang City, the ancient capital of the 13th Dynasty. It is named after the richness of Xiangge. It is located in the Xishan Grottoes area of ​​Longmen Grottoes, facing each other across the river. It is connected to the Longmen Grottoes Dongshan Grottoes and Baiyuan, and stands side by side. After the Xiangshan Temple was repaired by the descendants, the Xinxiangshan Temple borrowed the Tang Dynasty style and repaired, preserved and protected the Chiang Song Tower, the Qianlong Imperial Tablet Pavilion, and the Yilong Tower as historical relics. On the original site, the bell tower, the drum tower, the Daxiong Hall, and the Tianwang Hall, Luohan Hall, and the Touring Road were renovated. In addition, Xiangshan Temple and Buddhism Zen also have a very big fate, because the spread of the French sound for the world, so the incense is blazing.



The Longmen Grottoes

The Longmen Grottoes or Longmen Caves are some of the finest examples of Chinese Buddhist art. Housing tens of thousands of statues of Buddha and his disciples, they are located 12 kilometres (7.5 mi) south of present-day Luoyang in Henan province, China. The images, many once painted, were carved as outside rock reliefs and inside artificial caves excavated from the limestone cliffs of the Xiangshan and Longmenshan, running east and west. The Yi River flows northward between them and the area used to be called Yique (‘The Gate of the Yi River’). The alternative name of “Dragon’s Gate Grottoes” derives from the resemblance of the two hills that check the flow of the Yi River to the typical “Chinese gate towers” that once marked the entrance to Luoyang from the south.

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There are as many as 100,000 statues within the 2,345 caves, ranging from 1 inch (25 mm) to 57 feet (17 m) in height. The area also contains nearly 2,500 stelae and inscriptions, hence the name “Forest of Ancient Stelae”, as well as over sixty Buddhist pagodas. Situated in a scenic natural environment, the caves were dug from a 1 kilometre (0.62 mi) stretch of cliff running along both banks of the river. 30% date from the Northern Wei and 60% from the Tang dynasty, caves from other periods accounting for less than 10% of the total. Starting with the Northern Wei Dynasty in 493 AD, patrons and donors included emperors, Wu Zetian, members of the royal family, other rich families, generals, and religious groups.



White Horse temple

White Horse Temple is Buddhist temple in Luoyang, China that, according to tradition, is the first Buddhist temple in China, having been first established in 68 AD under the patronage of Emperor Ming in the Eastern Han dynasty.

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The site is just outside the walls of the ancient Eastern Han capital, some 12–13 kilometres (7.5–8.1 mi) east of Luoyang in Henan Province. The temple, although small in comparison to many others in China, is considered by most believers as “the cradle of Chinese Buddhism”.



Guan Yu’s mausoleum

Guanlin Temple, about seven kilometers (about 4.5 miles) south of Luoyang City, was built in 1596, during the reign of Emperor Wanli in the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) and was expanded in the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911). It is called General Guan’s Tomb as well.

Guanlin Temple is the place where Guan Yu’s head was buried. So, are you wondering about who Guan Yu is? He is a hero in Chinese history and is the only person respected by Confucians, Buddhists and Taoists. Guan Yu was a general of the Kingdom of Shu during the Three Kingdoms Period. After he was murdered by people of the Wu Kingdom, his head was sent to Cao Cao in order to frame Cao Cao and start a fight between the Shu Kingdom and the Wei Kingdom. However, Cao Cao discovered their plot. Due to his great respect for General Guan Yu, Cao Cao had Guan Yu’s body carved from eaglewood and buried the carving and the head with great honors outside the South Gate of Luoyang City. Emperors of succeeding dynasties all revered Guan Yu a lot and even worshiped him as God of War. As a result, the temple in Luoyang is splendid and grandiose.

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The Guanlin Temple covers an area of 100 mu (about 16.5 acres). Inside the temple are halls, tablets, small stone lions and cypress. The layout of the temple highly embodies the traditional style of Chinese architecture. It is designed and built symmetrically. Moving north from the Opera tower, there is the Main Gate, the Courtesy Gate, the First Hall, the Second Hall, the Third Gate, and the Tomb of Guan Yu. The First Hall is most magnificent. On its main gate are a series of reliefs telling the well-known stories of Guang Yu. The views from other halls and places inside the temple are also beautiful.

An art gallery was also built inside the temple, displaying a collection of nearly 2000 ancient steles, epitaphs and stone inscriptions.



(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)

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