Monday, September 22, 2008

Youguo Temple

Youguo Temple is a monastery complex located northeast of Kaifeng, one of the four sacred temples on , in Henan province, China. It was built by the Song Dynasty . The design features a pagoda towering in the center of the complex, a style that flourished in Chinese Buddhist temple architecture through the 11th century. The temple's original pagoda was a mammoth octagonal wooden tower thirteen storeys and 120 metres high. The eminent architect Yu Hao designed and engineered it. The architectural style features densely positioned ''dougong'' in the eaves and multiple storys . The exterior features more than fifty different varieties of brick and 1,600 intricate and richly detailed carvings, including those of sitting , standing monks, singers and dancers, lions, dragons and other legendary beasts as well as many fine engravings. Under the eaves are 104 that ring in the wind. The foundation rests in the silt of the Yellow River. Inside the Iron Pagoda are frescos of the Chinese classical novel, the Journey to the West.

In 1847 the Yellow River overflowed its banks and the Youguo Temple collapsed, but the Iron Pagoda survived. Historically, the pagoda has experienced 38 earthquakes, six floods and many other disasters, but it remains intact after almost 1000 years.

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