Lost temple discovered after 1,000 years in China

Jun 5, 2017 16:35 IST

Chinese archaeologists have discovered the Fugan Temple, which had been lost for almost 1000 years in China's south-western Sichuan province.

The Temple, located in downtown Chengdu, was a famous one that lasted from the Eastern Jin Dynasty (317- 420) to the Southern Song Dynasty (1127-1279).

 Lost temple discovered after 1,000 years in China

Key Highlights

• The archaeologists have unearthed more than 1,000 tablets inscribed with Buddhist scriptures and over 500 pieces of stone sculpture along with glazed tiles with inscriptions.

• The project lead, Yi Li, revealed that only a part of the temple’s area has been excavated as of now.

• The findings include the temple's foundation, ruins of surrounding buildings, wells, roads and ditches.

• Besides this, the archaeologists have also discovered around 80 ancient tombs scattered near the temple, dating back to Shang and Zhou dynasties (1600-256 BC).

• In the temple's surroundings, they have unearthed large amounts of household tools and utensils and building materials dating back to various periods from the Song to Ming dynasties.

• Chengdu became an economic and cultural centre in western China during the Sui and Tang dynasties.

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Background

• A famous Tang Dynasty monk, Daoxuan, once wrote that an official rite to pray for rain to end a persistent drought was held in front of the temple and it rained as if the prayers had been heard in heaven.

• The story is how the temple got its name Fugan, as it means ‘perceive the blessing’.

• The popular Tang Dynasty poet Liu Yuxi left a poem to commemorate the temple's renovation, describing its heavenly appearance.

• The poem further noted the temple's significant role at that time.

• The building was, however, worn down during the later period of the Tang and Song dynasties, with all traces of the temple disappearing during wars.

According to Wang Yi, Director of the Chengdu Cultural Relic Research Institute, this discovery could greatly contribute to the study of the spread of Buddhism in China during that time.

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