Beijing Dongyue Temple
The Beijing Dongyue Temple (simplified Chinese: 北京东岳庙; traditional Chinese: 北京東嶽廟; pinyin: Běijīng Dōngyuè Miào; literally: "Beijing Eastern Peak Temple") is a Daoist (Taoist) temple in the Chaowai area, Chaoyang District, Beijing, China. The temple is dedicated to the God of Mount Tai (simplified Chinese: 东岳大帝; traditional Chinese: 東嶽大帝; pinyin: Dōngyuè Dàdì). "Dongyue" (Chinese: 东岳; pinyin: Dōngyuè; literally: "Eastern Peak") is a synonym for Mount Tai, the easternmost and holiest of the Five Sacred Mountains of Taoism. Founded during the Yuan Dynasty, the Dongyue Temple is the largest temple of the Zhengyi school of Taoism in northern China and protected as a National Key Cultural Relict. The temple also serves as the Beijing Folk Customs Museum.
The Dongyue Temple was founded in 1319. Zhang Liusun (1248-1321), a Yuan official and descendant of the Daoist founder Zhang Daoling, raised money and acquired the land for the temple, but died shortly afterwards. His disciple, the daoist master Wu Quanjie (1269-1346) continued the construction. In 1322, the main halls and the main gate was completed. The temple was repaired and given its present name in 1447 during the reign of the Zhengtong Emperor in the Ming Dynasty. During the Qing Dynasty, the temple was rebuilt twice, in 1698 during the reign of the Kangxi Emperor and again in 1761 during the reign of the Qianlong Emperor. The temple also underwent expansion during the Qing Dynasty. The temple was damaged during the 20th century, during the chaos that ensued during the Cultural Revolution under Chairman Mao. It served as a school, government offices, and housing for hundreds of people until 1996, when it was declared a national treasure (State Council resolution number 4-113 of November 20th, 1996). The temple was restored in 2002 at a total cost of 5.8 million yuan.
The temple is organized around 3 main courtyards, it has 376 rooms and covers 4.7 hectares. The courtyards hold a collection of stone tablets. About 140 stone tablets dating from the Yuan, Ming, and Qing dynasties as well as from the Republican era of China are thought to have once stood in the temple, 90 tablets remain today. Among the remaining tablets is a Yuan-Dynasty tablet with calligraphy by Zhao Mengfu. This tablet is the only remaining piece in a set of four, its inscription give an account of the life of the temple founder Zhang Liusun and consists of 2786 characters in total.
The three main halls of the temple are Yude Hall, Daizongbao Hall, and Yuhuang Hall. Yude Hall displays statues made from Jinsi Nanmu wood, among them statues of the gods of heaven, earth, and water. The temple once contained more than 3000 steles in total of which about 1000 have been preserved. Surrounding the central courtyard is a succession of small rooms that open to the courtyard and each display an ensemble of plaster statues depicting one of the "76 departments" of the Daoist supernatural world.
An archway with three gates and a cover of green and yellow glazed tiles that also belongs to the temple complex has been separated by the public road.
The address of the temple is Dongyue Miao, 141 Chaowai Dajie, Chaoyang District, Beijing (东岳庙朝阳门外大街141号). It is located about 500 meters east of the Chaoyangmen subway station.
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