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Kaiyuan Temple

????Kaiyuan Temple is a representative monument exhibiting an interchange of Buddhism and Hinduism, a unique Buddhist temple exhibiting accomplishments of multicultural exchanges, and a unique Buddhist architectural masterpiece of ancient East Asia. It was originally built in 686 AD (the 2nd year of the Chuigong period of the Tang Dynasty) and saw a well-established layout in the Song and Yuan dynasties (13th-14th centuries). Facing the south, its major buildings are distributed along the north-south central axis, including the Entrance Hall, the Worship Courtyard, the East and West Corridors, the Mahavira Hall, Ganlu Precept Altar and the Scripture Repository. Kaiyuan Temple now covers an area of about 80,000m2, including more than 12,000m2 covered by halls and their auxiliary buildings. Zhenguo Pagoda and Renshou Pagoda, standing respectively in the east and west of the temple, are both five-storey octagonal stone structures of nearly 50 meters in height. Imitating wooden pagoda structures, they are the largest of its kind ever preserved in China today. Respectively built during 1238-1250 (Southern Song Dynasty) and 1228-1236 (Southern Song Dynasty), they are rare masterpieces and landmark monuments of ancient Quanzhou, bearing strong resistance to earthquakes. The stone pillars and beams and Dougong components were built in strict conformity with Song-Dynasty technical specifications of woodwork, serving as invaluable time scales to mark architectural evolution of ancient China. The Sumeru pedestal on the front platform and stone pillars at the rear corridor of the Marhavira Hall (both with Hindu influences), relief figures on the east and west pagodas, Dougong elements in the shape of flying Apsaras musicians, Dharani pillars with sutra inscriptions, stupas, casket-shaped stupas with sutra inscriptions, all are mixtures of Buddhist and Hindu elements that exhibit creative development of Chinese Buddhist architecture that blended foreign elements on the basis of indigenous cultural traditions and technologies. They vividly reflect the fusion and coexistence of religions, cultures, architecture and arts in Zayton port with foreign countries in the 10th-14th centuries.

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