Begun in the Tang Dynasty, the Qingyang Temple is devoted to the memory of Lao Zi (604-531 BC), the father of Daoism. The complex includes the Lingzu Hall, Hunyuan Palace, Eight Diagrams Pavilion, Wuji Palace, and Doulao Palace. A pair of bronze lambs stand watch beside the alter of the main palace. Inside the temple preserves the only extant wooden engraving of "Daozang Jiyao," a collection of important Daoist scriptures.
The Qingyang Temple, a famed Taoist temple in China, is in the beautiful and cultural relic laden city Chengdu. It is in the west of the city on the bank of the Jinjiang River.
The temple was originally built in the Tang Dynasty (618-907), a period when Taoism was flourishing. Most of the parts of the temple that remain in existence are restorations from the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), including Sanqing Hall, Doulao Hall, Hunyuan Palace, the Eight Trigrams Pavilion, and Wuji Palace.
The most magnificent of these buildings is the Eight Trigrams Pavilion. Built on square foundations, with a colored glazed dome on top, this octagonal building reflects the ancient Chinese philosophy that "the sky is round and the earth is square". There are eight pillars with dragons drawn in relief in the corridor, and colorful caissons and the symbols of eight trigrams are ornately arranged across its ceiling.
Beside the altar of Sanqing Hall stand two eye-catching bronze goats, which were said to be taken from Beijing during the Qing Dynasty. One of the goats is actually a strange creature with a mouse's ears, an ox's nose, a tiger's claw, a rabbit's mouth, a dragon's horns, a snake's tail, a horse's face, a goat's beard, a monkey's neck, a chicken's eyes, a dog's belly and a pig's thighs.
Many important exhibits of Taoist cultural relics are also on display in Qingyang Temple, such as the wooden engraving of the Dao Zang Ji Yao (Abstract of Collected Taoist Scriptures) and the stone sculpture of Patriarch Lu Dongbin, who was one of the Taoist Immortals in Chinese History.
Wandering through the temple, you will find many locals and visitors eating, drinking tea and playing Mahjong at the temple's teahouse. This is a traditional and extremely popular pastime for the people of Chengdu. If you have time, joining the locals for a pleasurable afternoon at the teahouse is an excellent way to experience life in China off the beaten track.
If you are interested in Chinese Taoism, Qingyang Temple in Chengdu City is highly recommended; additionally, you may find many interesting legends there. On the 15th day after the Chinese New Year is the lively Lantern Festival, thick with atmosphere and Chinese folk art in Cultural Park, neighboring Qingyang Temple.