Longxing Temple in Shijiazhuang is one of the large-scale and well-preserved Buddhist temples in China. It is ranked as one of the top ten famous Buddhist temples in China.
♦ History of Longxing Temple
The Longxing Temple covers an area of over 80,000 m2. Most of its structures find their origin in the Song Dynasty and later period. The overall layout at present is a legacy of the Song Dynasty.
The monastery was first built in 586 AD, during the Sui Dynasty. Its original name was Longcang monastery. One of the oldest stelae on the grounds of the monastery, the "Longcangsi Stele", dates from the year the monastery's foundation. Much of it was reconstructed during the Song Dynasty (960-1279 AD).
♦ Features of Longxing Temple
Following a common pattern, the monastery complex features a central axis along which a sequence of buildings and focal points is arranged. The first building is the Hall of the Heavenly Kings. At the opposite end of the axis is the Main Hall, a 33-meter-high wooden structure, which houses a bronze statue of Guan Yin. This bronze was built during the early years of the Song Dynasty; its height exceeds 20 meters. Inside the hall, a staircase leads around the statue which allows it to be seen from top to bottom.
A unique piece of wood architecture from the Song Dynasty in the Longxing Monastery is the Pavilion of the Rotating Library, which was restored in the 20th century. The pavilion houses a rotating bookshelf which was formerly used to store holy texts and Buddhist sutras. This rotating book case repository dates back to the 12th century, and is the oldest existent rotating repository of its kind (refer to the article Technology of the Song Dynasty).