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Yunlin Temple

Yunlin Temple is also called Yunlin Zen Temple or West Temple. It locates in Yanggao County, 76 kilometers away from Datong. According to the historical records, Yunlin Temple was built during Ming Dynasty but nobody knows the exact certain year. It was expanded several times in Qing Dynasty. In the 1960s, most of the temple was destroyed again. Hence in 1986, it was rebuilt by the government. In 2006, it was selected as the National Key Cultural Relics Protection Unit.

Features of Yunlin Temple
Yunlin Temple was originally a complete building complex, sitting to the south. It was 60 meters wide from east to west, and about 200 meters long from north to south, covering a total area of 12,000 square meters. Along the central axis there are the Jingang Hall, the Tianwang Hall, the Daxiongbao Hall, the Dodo Hall, and the Bell and Drum Tower.

The main hall - Daxiongbao Hall or Grand Hall has not only the most distinctive architectural style, but also rich cultural relics from the Ming Dynasty. The main hall has the wooden structure in a rectangular shape. There are five rooms in the main hall, with the length of 20 meters and width of 14 meters. The interior space is large and open, highlighting the vital position of the altar.

The roof uses the most distinguished ancient palace-style architecture design. The slope is steep, and the eaves are magnificent. There are twelve grid doors lined up in the main hall, and the patterns on the window lattice are especially unique with each other, reflecting the complex and superb craftsmanship in the past. The design combines the mechanics and aesthetics together, which is the crystallization of art. The entire temple is magnificent, which has important values for studying the architecture, sculpture and art of the Ming Dynasty.

Inside the main hall, there are 25 clay sculptures from the Ming Dynasty, including the main statue, 2 disciples, and 18 Arhat. In front the main and huge statue of Buddha Shakjamuni, there stand two disciples, Jiaye and Anan. The statues are well-preserved, solemn and ingenious.

The walls of the hall are full of mural paintings, consisting of 123 groups with a total area of 120 square meters. The paintings have colorful and delicate decorations, golden and brilliant. Many characters were drew lively in different styles. Some characters are warm-faced; some are horrible; some are dignified and demure. The paintings are rigorous in composition and exquisite in craftsmanship, which reflect the unique comprehension on aesthetics in ancient China.

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