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White Cloud Temple 北京白云观

Baiyun Guan 白云观
White Cloud Temple
Temple of Four Emperors 四御殿
San Qing Temple 三清阁

This temple was built in 1428 and the second floor was added in 1662. The first floor is dedicated to the Four Emperors (四御殿 Sì Yù Diàn) and the second floor to the Three Qing (三清阁 Sān Qīng Gé).

The temple was built during the reign of Emperor Xuanzong (1425-1435) in the Ming Dynasty. The second floor was added in the first year of the reign of the Kangxi Emperor of the Qing Dynasty. The statues of the Four Emperors were created in the Qing Dynasty, changing the purpose of the Hall. The statues of the Three Kings were created during the Ming Dynasty and installed on the second floor. The Three Kings are the supreme gods and would take a place closer to heaven.

In front of the temple, on the left side of the picture, behind the round bush, is a bronze vessel coated with powdered gold. It is decorated with 43 dancing dragons and was cast during the Jiajing Period of the Ming Dynasty (1521-1567), Emperor Shizong.

During his era, the Emperor became devoted to Daoism and worked to suppress Buddhism. The money he spent building and expanding Daoist temples emptied the treasury and threatened the stability of the dynasty. Shizong was interested in the alchemy and medicine practiced by the Daoists, especially the search for a medicine that could prolong life. He funded many expeditions and the collection of rare herbs and minerals in the search. He ruled for forty-five years, but died comparatively young, at the age of 60.

China Index >> Beijing History in Pictures >> Index White Cloud Temple Baiyun Guan

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Last update: October 2009
© Marilyn Shea, 2009