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Wednesday, January 18, 2012

No. 84: Longshan Temple, Jinjiang, Fujian

This Spirit Door at Longshan Temple (龙山寺), Jinjiang, Fujian
(福建, 晋江市), hints at the current building's Taoist (道教的) origins.
On the way back from central Quanzhou to Xiamen, I left the train at the county town of Jinjiang. It was about 14 kilometers from the then-new train station on the high-speed line into the center of town. I didn't need to go that far, though; Longshan Temple, my destination, was less than 10 km.

The first thing one notices at Longshan ("Dragon Mountain") Temple is that it doesn't look like a Buddhist temple at all. The building style is clearly that of a Daoist or "folk" temple, and--like many small temples in China--it's slowly being converted to a more standardized Buddhist plan.

Entering a gateway reminiscent of those in a foreign "Chinatown," one sees green-roofed buildings heavily decorated with glazed figures of dragons and other creatures. The main hall has the open central courtyard typical of folk temples, though the flanking drum and bell towers seem to follow a more Buddhist design.

Most of the statues in the temple are situated in red cabinets. In one of the side halls dedicated to Kshitigarbha Bodhisattva, who vowed to save all beings from Hell, there are what appear to be pencil drawings of the Ten Judges of Hell. Another side hall has charming cartoon-like illustrations meant to instruct children in proper behavior.

The temple is located on the coast facing Taiwan; many of the emigrants to overseas locations have left from this area. Thus little Longshan Temple through the centuries has been the sponsoring temple for many others of the same name throughout the world, including no fewer than five in Taiwan.

(An edited version of this article was published in the Shenzhen Daily January 6, 2014.)

GPS Info:
  • 24.72261, 118.46612



Map:


(This may look blank, but it works--I promise!)



GALLERY

A folk-style hall demonstrates Longshan Temple's roots
The central courtyard in the Main Hall
An ornate roof at the temple
Corridor at Longshan Temple

There are 19 pictures related to this temple (some of them identical to these, but with different captions) in a FaceBook album starting here (available to all, even without a FaceBook account).

Click here to visit the next article in chronological order || Click here to view the trip details

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