Hualin Temple locates in Gulou District, Fuzhou, south of Pingshan Mountain. It is the National Key Cultural Relics Protection Unit. As the oldest wooden architecture in southern China, it has the important research and appreciation values.
History of Hualin Temple
Hualin Temple has more than 1000 years of history. In 964 of Song Dynasty when the Wuyue Kingdom was fragmented, the Fuzhou governor built the temple to pray for the country’s peace. The temple was originally named as "Yueshan Jixiang Temple".
In 1444 of Ming Dynasty, it was renamed as Hualin Temple. During 1506-1521 of Ming Dynasty, the Luohan Temple and Yueshan Temple nearby merged into the Hualin Temple. Later the Yushu Pavilion, Huanfeng Pavilion, Shenghui Pavilion and other buildings were added there.
During 1796-1850 of Qing Dynasty, the main hall, Tianwang Hall, the main gate, the corridor and the monastery were rebuilt gradually.
Afterwards, the surrounding buildings were damaged due to distasters and insect damages. During the 1960s, all the original walls, promenades, gates, and Tianwang Temple were all demolished.
Features of Hualin Temple
After experienced so many dynasties with restorations several times, only the main hall, the side halls and corridors survived.
According to some Chinese and Japanese experts, the temple had great influence in the Japanese architecture styles by the end of the 12th century. The temple is regarded as an important symbol of Sino-Japanese cultural communication.
The main hall has the unique features. It is 15.5 meters high, covering 574 square meters. The whole hall is supported by 18 columns without even one iron nail. The four eaves of the main hall and the top of columns are all supported by the bracket set, presenting the classic architecture style in Tang and Song dynasties. This frame structure has the features of rationality and stability. This style of wood columns was popular during the Southern and Northern Dynasties, which is rare to find in the following dynasties. The quaint shape, superb construction skills and architectural art style make Hualin Temple very unique. Despite the rainy and humid conditions in Fuzhou, the firm wooden columns have supported the main hall for a thousand years. Therefore, the well-preserved temple is very precious.