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Fengguo Temple, a Liao Dynasty gem in Liaoning

Updated: 2024-06-03 14:44 ( chinadaily.com.cn )
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The indoor scene of the Daxiong Hall of Fengguo Temple in Jinzhou, Liaoning province. [Photo provided to China Daily]

In a bid to assess grassroots cultural heritage preservation efforts, the National Cultural Heritage Administration recently inspected Fengguo Temple in Yixian county, Jinzhou, Liaoning province, a historical site dating back to the prosperous era of the Liao Dynasty (916-1125).

Constructed in 1020 during the reign of Liao Emperor Shengzong to honor his influential mother, Empress Dowager Xiao, who governed Liao for 27 years, Fengguo Temple stands as a testament to ancient grandeur. The centerpiece of the temple is the magnificent Daxiong Hall, a colossal wooden structure housing seven intricately painted clay Buddhist statues.

Wen Hui, director of Yixian's archaeology and cultural relics protection and service center, lauds Daxiong Hall as one of China's largest wooden architectural marvels within Buddhist temple remnants, highlighting the rarity and magnificence of the clay statues adorning its interior.

Recent restoration endeavors have focused on preserving 14 flanking-attendant Bodhisattva statues and two heavenly kings within the hall, alongside efforts to safeguard the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368) murals embellishing its walls, ensuring the longevity of this ancient treasure for future generations.

Despite historical lacunae stemming from the Jin Dynasty's destruction of much Liao Dynasty documentation, Fengguo Temple and its architectural splendor continue to narrate vivid tales of Liao's illustrious past, as emphasized by Li Zhenhua, a temple tour guide, underscoring the enduring legacy of this cultural heritage site.

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