August 27, 2009

 

The Mountain Resort (the Qing dynasty’s summer palace), in Hebei Province, was built between 1703 and 1792. It is a vast complex of palaces and administrative and ceremonial buildings. Temples of various architectural styles and imperial gardens blend harmoniously into a landscape of lakes, pastureland and forests. In addition to its aesthetic interest, the Mountain Resort is a rare historic vestige of the final development of feudal society in China.

The project of building Chengde Mountain Resort started in 1703 and finished in 1790. The whole mountain resort covers an area 5,640,000 square meters. It is the largest royal garden in China. The wall of the mountain resort is over 10,000 meters in length. In summers, emperors of Qing Dynasty came to the mountain resort to relax themselves and escape from the high temperature in Beijing.

The whole Resort can be divided into three areas which are lakes area, plains area and hills area. The lakes area, which includes 8 lakes, covers an area of 496,000 square meters. The plains area covers an area of 607,000 square meters. The emperors held horse races and hunted in the area. The largest area of the three is the hills area. It covers an area of 4,435,000 square meters. Hundreds of palaces and temples were built on the hills in this area.

The elaborate Mountain Resort features large parks with lakes, pagodas, and palaces ringed by a wall. Outside the wall are the Eight Outer Temples (外八庙), built in varying architectural styles drawn from throughout China. One of the best-known of these is the Putuo Zongcheng Temple, built to resemble thePotala Palace in Lhasa, Tibet. The resort and outlying temples were made a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994. The nearby Puning Temple, built in 1755, houses the world’s tallest wooden statue of the Bodhisattva Avalokiteśvara.

August 27, 2009

The Putuo Zongcheng Temple in  Chengde, Hebei provinc  is a Qing Dynasty era Buddhist temple complex built between 1767 and 1771, during the reign of theQianlong Emperor (1735-1796). It is located near the Chengde Mountain Resort, which is south of the Putuo Zongcheng. Along with the equally famed Puning Temple, it is one of the Eight Outer Temples of Chengde. The temple was modeled after the Potala Palace of Tibet, the old sanctuary of the Dalai Lama built a century earlier. Hence the Putuo Zongcheng has been nicknamed the “Little Potala Palace”. Since it was modeled after the Potala palace, the temple represents a fusion of Chinese and Tibetan architectural styles. The temple complex covers a surface area of some 220,000 square meters, making it one of the largest in China. Many of its halls and pavilions are adorned with copper and gold tiled roofs, adding to the splendor of the site.

The Putuo Zongcheng Temple was originally dedicated to Qianlong in order to commemorate his birthday, as well as provide Hebei with a temple of equal size and splendor as the Tibetan Potala Palace. The Putuo Zongcheng temple served more functions than just Buddhist ceremony and festival, however. It was also the location that the emperor would gather meetings of different ethnic envoys found throughout the empire. The location served as a peaceful getaway in contrast to the bustling life of the capital Beijing, as well as complimented the nearby hunting grounds that the emperor would enjoy with his hosts.

 

 

August 26, 2009

 

 

 

 

The Puning Temple, or Temple of Universal Peace of Chengde, Hebei province is a Qing Dynasty era Buddhist temple complex built in 1755, during the reign of the Qianlong Emperor (1735-1796 AD) to celebrate the suppression of the rebellion of Junggar Trib and to show the Qing’s respect to the ethnic minorities. The Puning Temple is of grand scale, occupying an area of more than 23,000 square meters. It is located near the Chengde Mountain Resort, and alongside the equally famed Putuo Zongcheng Temple, it is one of the “Eight Outer Temples” of Chengde. When the Putuo Zongcheng Temple was modeled after the Tibetan Potala Palace, the Puning Temple was modeled after the Samye Monastery, the sacred Lamaist site in Tibet. The front temple was constructed in the Chinese style, although the temple complex follows both Chinese and Tibetan architectural styles.

  The Puning Temple also houses the world’s tallest wooden sculpture of the Bodhisattva Avalokiteśvara (22.28-meter-high and 110-ton), hence the Puning Temple is often nicknamed the “Big Buddha Temple”. The complex features temple halls, pavilions, drum towers and bell towers.

August 26, 2009

In 1778, during the 43rd year of Emperor Qianlong’s reign, the reigning Panchen Lama VI of Tibet was invited to journey to Chengde to congratulate Emperor Qianlong on the occasion of his 70th birthday which was due in 1780. In order to receive the Lama in a setting appropriate to his position, Qianlong had Xumi Fushou Monastery constructed. It is built along the lines of the Zhashilunpu monastery where the Panchen Lama lived in Shigatse, Tibet, though it incorporates many Chinese elements.
The Panchen Lama, known as Lobsang Palden Yeshe, set out with a large retinue for a trip that was expected to last several months and travel over several thousand kilometers of rough terrain. Along the way Chinese representatives contacted him and assisted with transportation on the way to Beijing and Chengde. Although the Panchen Lama reached Chengde and stayed there for a time, the visit turned into a disaster when the Panchen Lama contracted smallpox in Beijing. He died on Nov 2nd, 1780 in Beijing.

The temple of Xuni Fushou corers an area of 36,700 square meters contains Stone Bridge, Stone Lion, Mountain Gate, Place for the sixth Panchen and his disciples’ accommodation, as well as Wanshou Tower.