Saturday, September 15, 2012

Qiongzhu Temple Kunming Yunnan Province China

筇竹寺

Qiongzhu Temple or Bamboo Temple is located on Yu'an Mountain, 12km north west of the city of Kunming in Yunnan Province.

Qiongzhu Temple, Kunming


The temple originally dates from the 13th century and is a Chinese Zen temple. The temple and statues you see today mostly date from the reconstruction work of the Emperor Guangxu of the Qing Dynasty after a devastating fire destroyed most of the original structures.

Qiongzhu Temple, China

Qiongzhu Temple is known for its 19th century sculptures of the 500 Buddhist arhats or luohan (Buddhist adepts freed from the cycle of death and re-birth) sculpted by the renown Chinese artist Li Guangxiu and his five disciples. The art work proved too much for the artist's contemporaries and patrons and was his last commission.

Qiongzhu Temple arhats

The clay statues, which took seven years in the making are beautifully painted and capture various personalities and states of human existence: the young and the old, the healthy and the sick, the happy and the sad.

Qiongzhu Temple statue

Some of the statues ride waves like surfers on one wall of the temple and are particularly grotesque: one has arms longer than his body, another eyebrows reaching down to his chest.

Qiongzhu Temple, China

Qiongzhu Temple is also known for its fine setting with ancient cypress trees and the grounds also contain a vegetarian restaurant for visitors. The main hall of Qiongzhu Si contains a 14th century stone tablet recording the diplomacy between Imperial China and Yunnan in Chinese and Mongolian script.

Qiongzhu Temple monk


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