Lu Xun Bowuguan Museum

The Temple of the Source of Law (open: Thur.-Tues. 8.30-11.30am and 1.30-4.30pm), lies about 500m/550yd to the east of the mosque, and dates originally from the year 645. It was not given its present-day name until 1734. The buildings consist of several halls, where many stone inscriptions are kept, the oldest of which dates back to the 7th c.

In the course of history the temple was the scene of important events. For a time the Emperor Huizong (1100-56) was held captive here; and in 1173 an imperial examination took place here for the award ofthe highest offices of state; in 1289 the temple was converted into a special prison to hold the former minister Xie Fang. Under Qing rule (1644-1911) the temple served as botanical gardens.

Today the temple is a place of worship although it is also the seat of the Buddhist academy, the most important educational establishment in China. The bell tower and the drum tower are situated in the first courtyard.

Displayed in the hall, are the four kings of heaven (Tianwang Dian), a Maitreya statue, and a Weituo statue.

The hall houses Buddhas of the present, past and future represented in eighteen Luohan figures.

One of the most precious of objects belonging to the temple is a Han dynasty (25-220) ceramic statue in the Dabianjue Tang Hall.

The Southern Cathedral is situated in the Xuannei Dajie. The present building was reconstructed in 1904 in the style of the church which was erected in 1650 (with financial support from the emperor) by the German Jesuit Johann Adam Schall von Bell. It stands on the site ofthe residences of the missionary Matteo Ricci. Regular church services, which many foreigners attend, are held here.

The famous Daoist Temple of the White Clouds (open: 9am-4.30pm) lies only a short distance from the Yanjing Hotel. Although originally built in 739, the present buildings are only a few hundred years old.

The temple’s interior decorations are Daoist; including mushrooms, storks, diagrams and portraits ofthe eight immortal Daoists.

Kept on the first floor of the Siyu hall is a copy of the sacred Daoist scriptures from the first half ofthe 15th c.

The main hall (not normally open to the public) is dedicated to Qiu Changchun (1148-1227), the spiritual head ofthe Daoists. Here a statue of thesaint is worshipped, and belowthiscan be seen histomb. Atthe present time the temple isalsothe headquarters ofthe Daoist Association of China.

The Temple of Universal Brotherly Love lies in the Fuchengmennei Dajie. The original building dates back to the 12th c. and was completed in 1457. In the 1930s it was destroyed by fire, and was gradually rebuilt.

The Yuanton Baodian Hall is very noteworthy. Dedicated to Guanjin, the temple is now the headquarters of the Chinese Buddhist Society.

To the west of the Temple of Universal Brotherly Love stands this temple with its 50m/164ft high white pagoda. It dates from the end of the 11th c. and was restored between 1270 and 1271 by Kublai Khan (advised by a Nepalese architect). It burned down several years later, however, and was not rebuilt until 1457. During its restoration in 1978 numerous religious artifacts and scrolls were found in the tip of the pagoda and these are now on display in the temple.

The Lu Xun Bowuguan Museum (open: Tues.-Sun. 8.30-11am and 1.30-3.30pm), lies not far from the Temple of the White Pagoda. On display are the diaries, letters, manuscripts and one of the only few examples of the complete works ofthe poet Lu Xun (See Famous People). The exhibition is divided into four sections which relate to different periods ofthe poet’s life: childhood and education, e.g. the first translations (1909-27), travel and the early works (1909-27), the Shanghai period (1927-1936), and the influence of his work.

The house where Lu Xun resided from 1924-26 is situated next to the museum. It has been preserved in its original style, including the furniture.

The zoo (open: 7.30am-5.30pm) lies in the north-west of Beijing, it was a prince’s estate during the Ming dynasty (1368-1644), and in the Qing period (1644-1911) the son of a minister had it transformed into private gardens. In 1906 the area temporarily became a public estate with cultivated fields and livestock. Since 1908 the zoo has been situated here and now has about 3000 animals of 400 species, including the giant panda, the Manchurian tiger and the snubnosed monkey.

This temple (north of the zoo; interior in poor condition) which dates back to the 15th c. was badly damaged in 1860, and was later pillaged. Only the structure with the five pagodas, after which the temple was named, remained standing.

Already in Yuan times (1271-1368), water was taken from the three lakes here and channelled down the Changhe Canal to Beijing. This was of great importance to Beijing’s water supply.

In 1577 the Wanshou Si temple estate was laid out in the north-west of the park, to which the small lamaist Purple Bamboo Temple belongs; only parts of this still remain standing today.

In the Temple ofthe Great Bell (open: 9am-4.30pm), which lies to the north of the zoo is a collection of old bells, including one of the largest in world. This bell is 6.75m/22ft tall, has a diameter of about 3.5m/11ft, and weighs 46.5 tonnes. It was moulded from bronze during the rule of Emperor Yongle (1402-24). Apparently its sound can be heard up to 50km/31 miles away. The bell was originally kept in the Temple of Longevity (Wanchou Si). As the temple came under threat of attack it was transported to the Juesheng Si Temple by means of a railway specially constructed for this purpose.

On the inside and outside of the bell Buddhist texts have been engraved amounting to 220,000 characters.

The Drum Tower which borders the city’s north-south axis, dates from the year 1420. At night, drums were beaten here to announce the changing shifts of the night guards.

The Bell Tower looms north ofthe Golou tower. This bell tower also dates back to 1420 and its chimes informed the city’s residents ofthe hour.

The Lama Temple (open: 9am-4.30pm) in the north-east of Beijing is one of the city’s most attractive and best preserved temples. It was originally built in 1694 as the residence of Prince Yong (later to become Emperor Yong-zheng). When he came to the throne in 1723 parts of the complex were converted into a Lama temple in keeping with the old custom that the residence of an heirto the throne may only be used as a temple. In 1725 half the complex was burned to the ground. Around the five courtyards of the temple are numerous other buildings. The entrance to the temple grounds is the south gate. On the way through the gardens we reach a courtyard with a drum tower (Gu Lou) on the left, and on the right a bell tower and two stele pavilions.

As the visitor proceeds through the grounds, he reaches the first ofthe five main halls. In the Hall of the Kings of Heaven stands a Maitreya statue surrounded by the four kings who are provided with symbolic objects: the eastern king with a toad, the southern king with a sword, the western king with a snake, and the northern king with a shield. Also noteworthy is the statue of Weituo, the protector of Buddhism, holding an iron staff.

Lu Xun Bowuguan Museum Photo Gallery

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