Last Sunday afternoon after a nice chat to my parents and nana, I went out to Dongyue Temple. This is a Taoist temple just outside the 2nd ring road in Beijing on the east side, only a 10 minute bus ride from my house and because its now the off peak season, it only cost me 10 yuan.
Dongyue Temple was founded in 1319. Zhang Liusun (1248-1321), a Yuan official and descendant of the daoist founder Zhang Daoling, raised money and acquired the land for the temple, who died shortly afterwards. His disciple, the daoist master Wu Quanjie (1269-1346) continued the construction. In 1322, the main halls and the main gate was completed. The temple was repaired and given its present name in 1447 during the reign of the Ming emperor Yingzong. During the Qing Dynasty, the temple was rebuilt twice, in 1698 during the reign of Emperor Kangxi and again in 1761 during the reign of Emperor Gaozong
The temple is organized around 3 main courtyards, it has 376 rooms and covers 4.7 hectares. The courtyards hold a collection of stone tablets. About 140 stone tablets dating from the Yuan, Ming, and Qing Dynasties as well as from the Republican Era of China are thought to have once stood in the temple, 90 tablets remain today. Among the remaining tablets is a Yuan-Dynasty tablet with calligraphy by Zhao Mengfu. This tablet is the only remaining piece in a set of four, its inscription give an account of the life of the temple founder Zhang Liusun and consists of 2786 characters in total.
The three main halls of the temple are Yude Hall, Daizongbao Hall, and Yuhaung Hall. Yude Hall displays statues made from Jinsi Nanmu wood, among them statues of the gods of heaven, earth, and water. The temple once contained more than 3000 steles in total of which about 1000 have been preserved. Surrounding the central courtyard is a succession of small rooms that open to the courtyard and each display an ensemble of plaster statues depicting one of the “76 departments” of the Daoist supernatural world.