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Qingyang temple

Qingyang temple

Qingyang Temple (Green Ram Temple) is one of the most famous Taoist holy temples in China. A historical document recorded a legend that Lao-tzu, the high priest of Taoism, was to meet a friend here. Arriving , the man saw only a boy leading two goats-and in an impressive leap of lateral thinking a realiased the boy was Lao-tze.

        The temple was originally built in the Tang Dynasty (618-907), a period when Taoism was flourishing. Most of the parts of the temple that remain in existence are restorations from the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), including Sanqing Hall, Doulao Hall, Hunyuan Palace, the Eight Trigrams Pavilion, and Wuji Palace.

        The most magnificent of these buildings is the Eight Trigrams Pavilion. Built on square foundations, with a colored glazed dome on top, this octagonal building reflects the ancient Chinese philosophy that "the sky is round and the earth is square". There are eight pillars with dragons drawn in relief in the corridor, and colorful caissons and the symbols of eight trigrams are ornately arranged across its ceiling.

        Beside the altar of Sanqing Hall stand two eye-catching bronze goats, which were said to be taken from Beijing during the Qing Dynasty. One of the goats is actually a strange creature with a mouse's ears, an ox's nose, a tiger's claw, a rabbit's mouth, a dragon's horns, a snake's tail, a horse's face, a goat's beard, a monkey's neck, a chicken's eyes, a dog's belly and a pig's thighs.

        Many important exhibits of Taoist cultural relics are also on display in Qingyang Temple, such as the wooden engraving of the Dao Zang Ji Yao (Abstract of Collected Taoist Scriptures) and the stone sculpture of Patriarch Lu Dongbin, who was one of the Taoist Immortals in Chinese History.

        Wandering through the temple, you will find many locals and visitors eating, drinking tea and playing Mahjong at the temple's teahouse. This is a traditional and extremely popular pastime for the people of Chengdu. If you have time, joining the locals for a pleasurable afternoon at the teahouse is an excellent way to experience life in China off the beaten track.

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