Xingjiao Temple

Opening Hours: 8:00~17:00
Recommended Visiting Hours: 1-2 hours

The Shaxi Xingjiao Temple, also known as the Xingjiao Temple, stands as the sole surviving “Atoli” Buddhist monastery of the Bai ethnic group from the Ming Dynasty in China. Situated in the Yangpo area of Aofeng Mountain, Deng Town, Shaxi Temple, Jianchuan County, Yunnan Province, this temple bears significant historical and cultural importance.

The temple complex consists of the main hall and the second hall, both adorned with 12 shops of Ming Dynasty Buddhist murals. Surrounding the temple are several ancient Chinese locust trees and Huanglian trees, adding to the site’s historical charm. A pair of large lions guard the mountain gate, facing a stage, creating an imposing entrance.

The architectural grandeur of the main hall, historically known as Daxiong Hall, and the second hall, formerly Tianwang Hall, is remarkable. The main hall, oriented from west to east, boasts a double-eaves Xieshan-style nine-back roof, featuring bucket arches and flying angles. Similarly, the second hall shares a majestic presence, with both structures showcasing rigorous construction, excellent craftsmanship, and a simple yet elegant architectural style, resonating with the national characteristics of the Bai ethnic group.

Within the main hall, more than 20 large-scale murals by Zhang Bao, an ancient Bai painter from Dantou Village, Shaxi, are preserved. These murals depict scenes such as the “Prince Prince Touring Garden,” providing valuable insights into the palaces and daily life of ancient Nanzhao and Dali kingdoms.

The Buddhist murals within the Xingjiao Temple reflect a wide range of themes, featuring vivid characters, smooth lines, and vibrant colors. These murals seamlessly blend Buddhist narratives with secular life, exuding a mythological atmosphere and distinct national style. They serve as important historical evidence for the study of Nanzhao and Dali kingdoms, while also showcasing the artistic legacy of the Bai ethnic group.

The preservation of these Ming Dynasty Buddhist murals not only constitutes a rare art treasure but also offers valuable material for the study of ancient Bai religion and art. The painter’s efforts to copy and exhibit these murals in Beijing garnered significant attention in cultural circles nationwide, highlighting the cultural significance and artistic excellence of the Shaxi Xingjiao Temple.

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