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Qiongzhu Temple


Nestling among the luxuriant forest of the undulating Yu'an Mountain, Qiongzhu Temple (Bamboo Temple,筇竹寺) sits in the northwest suburbs of Kunming and is 7km from downtown. Baptized by mists and clouds, Yu’an Mountain boasts enticing sceneries composed of thick forest, deep valleys and murmuring brooks. A winding road meadows its way to this temple will offer you a splendid bird’s-eye view of Dianchi Lake at the Wangcheng Slope. The significance of Qiongzhu Temple not only lies in its identity as the first stop when Han Buddhism penetrated into Yunnan, but also for its over 500 well-proportioned and life-size Luohan statues of vivid expressions and breathtaking beauty, hence Qingzhu Temple is nicknamed as “the museum of Luohan statues”.
 
 
 
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 Qiongzhu Temple: the Meseum of Luohan Statues


During Jin (265-420), Sui (581-618) and Tang dynasties (618-907), a grand scaled Buddhism sculpture endeavor swept China and left many top grottoes rare seen elsewhere in the World. Yungang Grottoes, Longmen Grottoes, Mogao Grottoes, Maijishan Grottoes are among the best masterpieces. Before the 10th century, Buddha and Bodhisattva statues overweigh that of Luohan statues, and the sculpture artists obey a strict rule. For instance, the Buddha must be shaped as a wise and awe-inspiring figure with detached facial expression. Thus, there is little room for artists to create except the volume or size. After the 10th century, Luohan statues outshone those Buddha and Bodhisattva statues and gained more popularity, you can say they are the secularized Buddha and Bodhisattvas, only with lower ranks.
 
 
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 Qiongzhu Temple: the first stop of Han Buddhism

 The weathered Qiongzhu Temple has experienced ups and downs during the past hundreds of years
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 Luohan Statue here is famous for the vivid expressions

 Buddha Statues



At the entry of this temple stand many ancient giant cypress trees and in the back of it harbors an emerald Qiongzhu bamboo forest, a unique species of its kind. Three main architectures of this temple: Shanmen Gate, Huayange Palace which boasts the intact architecture of Qing dynasty and Daxiongbaodian Palace which houses the precious Luohan statues, scatter among the forest rhythmically.

Luohan statues were built by Li Guangxiu, a clay sculpture master of Qing dynasty and his five students within 7 years. Obviously each Luohan statue here is a masterpiece, and if you see them as a whole, you will find that they are heading to the same direction. With outstanding layout and genius thought, you can see the perfect balance between random and order is achieved here. Some naughty Luohan will step out of the queue and bringing much fun to the whole scene. there statues are exhibited in three layers: Daxiongbaodian Palace, the upper layer, shelters 68 statues; Tiantailaige Palace, the middle layer, houses 216 and Fanyinge Palace, the lower layer, comprises 216. If observed more careful, you will find the middle layer done by the master himself is of higher aesthetic value.
 
 
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Qiongzhu Temple boasts exquisite wood sculptures also


Legend had it that in Tang Dynasty (618-907), two brothers were hunting at the edge of Dianchi Lake and suddenly they found a rhinoceros. Happily, they chased the animal all the way to Yu'an Mountain. To their surprise, the rhinoceros vanished into the woods. Again and again, they searched for the animals carefully but in vain, instead they found a few strange-looking monks sitting on the ground. As soon as they came up to these monks, there was nothing but bamboo there. Out of curiosity, they tried to pull the bamboo out, but failed. The next day, they came by this place and found bamboo is everywhere within one night. So they deemed it as a very important sign from Buddha. Later, they decided to set up a temple there. Hence the name Qiongzhu Temple or Bamboo Temple. Built during the Song Dynasty (960-1279), Qiongzhu Temple was burnt down in 1419 during Ming Dynasty and the following years saw it several restorations.
 
 
 
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