|The second floor of the Temple of Four Emperors 四御殿 was added in the first year of the reign of the Kangxi Emperor (康熙帝, Kāngxīdì) of the Qing Dynasty. Although historically the Kangxi Emperor reigned from 1661 to 1722, his reign officially started in the New Year, February 1662. Many additions to the Baiyun Guan were made in 1662.
The second floor is devoted to the San Qing Temple (三清阁 Sān Qīng Gé) and contains statues of the three highest deities in Daoism. The three statues were made over two hundred years earlier, during the Xuande era (1425–1435) of the Ming Dynasty. They were probably made in 1428 at the time of construction of the original temple. That was in the third year of the reign of Emperor Xuanzong 宣宗 (1398-1435). The statues were made with a dry paint varnish added to ramie, a type of hemp. The procedure created vivid colors that have not been retouched to this day. The statues are about seven feet tall and are in the sitting position.
The San Qing Temple (三清阁 Sān Qīng Gé) is translated by Baiyun Guan as San Qing because it is very difficult to convey the meaning of Qing. The word means clear, bright, peaceful and in context refers to celestial perfection and power. For students of Chinese, 阁, Gé - means "hall." not temple.
The statue shown on this page is on the left side of the temple. It is the deity Shangqing Lingbao, 上清灵宝天尊 (Shàngqīng Língbǎo Tiānzūn). The Lingbao Deity came to earth to create the land and sky to prepare the earth for human beings. The Lingbao deity gives off yellow qi, a Daoist concept of life force.
Last update: October 2009
© Marilyn Shea, 2009