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Qing Taoist Temple

Qing Taoist Temple at Cicheng enjoys a long history. It is one of the most famous Taoist temples in Zhejiang Province. According to the County Annals, the temple was firstly built in the 8th year of Tianbao during the Tang Dynasty (749A.C.); however it was destroyed later on. Rebuilt was done by a Taoist priest named Ye Jingxu in the 30th year of Shaoxing during Southern Song Dynasty (1160A.C.). Whence on the right side was established Dongyue Hall and Minister Lou Yue was invited to inscript the name “The Fairyland”. In the 24th year of Hongwu during Ming Dynasty (1391A.C.), Taoist priest Wang Zhijing annexed adjoining Zhidao and Chongshou Hall into the temple, hence renamed it as “Qing Taoist Temple”. After the foundation of RPC, the temple was still kept in good condition. But unfortunately it was dismantled during the Cultural Revolution.

The reconstruction process was carried out from the year 2004 to 2007. Traditional building materials such as timber, stone, tiles and bricks were widely used. Also, traditional craftsmanship was adopted in the whole rebuilding process. Based on the abundant field and textual researches on the architectural layout and the style of the former temple, the restoration was of hitherto the first-rate quality and artistic value. Among them are Temple Gate, Ceremony Gate, Hall Of Thunder God, Dongyue Hall, Dongyue Interior Hall, Drama Stage, Hall Of Jade Emperor, Sanqing Hall, Hall Of Lord Guan and Ten Kings Hall. Moreover, the deity statuaries of the Thunder God, Emperor Dongyue, Jade Emperor, Four Imperial Guards and Three Celestial Worthies were all carved on high quality Chinese juniper and lacquered with fresh light colors. They come to represent the highest level of wooden deity statuary in China.

The reconstruction project did not merely rest on the restoration and remedy of the former temple. Still, it set to explore and exhibit the traditional Chinese Taoist spirit and the contemporary Chinese spirits. The bronze statuary of Lao Tze was the masterpiece of Professor Wu Weishan, an internationally renowned sculptor and the first dean appointed to China Sculpture Institute. Professor Wu has resorted to the nonfigurative sculpting method in projecting the profound and lofty verves of Lao Tze the great thinker and philosopher of humanity. The statuary was set in post-modern ambience: black steel pipes were framed to simulate the meandering path of a labyrinth. The floor was dotted with pure white gravels. The juxtaposition of black and white metaphorically denoted the Taoist doctrine “That can be told of is not the way” and “The way is not that easy to seek”. Meantime, it also connoted the artistic conception “the virtue of water”. On Lao Tze Platform a cluster of black bars were erected, with the image derived from the woods. It indicated things beyond the Tao. Tourists can tie ribbons onto the bars and make wishes, which will be sublimed in this strong Taoist ambience.

The Qing Taoist Temple has evolved from a religious shrine where Taoist priests offer sacrifices to the gods and a place where they fast and foster into a cultural venue where Chinese traditions in the new era are glorified.