Huayan Temple

In Datong, two famous temples erect side by side: Lower Huayan Temple completed in 1038 of Liao Dynasty and Upper Huayan Temple, rebuilt after a fire in 1140, although the five grand Buddhas were remade in the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) and the frescos repainted late in the 19th century.

Huayan Temple Image in Datong

At Lower Huayan Temple, not only is the sculpture original but also the walls retain the original sutra cases fashioned like scaled-down pavilions, their intricate carpentry providing a rare example of the style of the period. In this sumptuous shrine, architect and sculptor have combined their arts in the service of theology to create a fabulous Buddha world by which the worshipper, on entering the hall, is surrounded and enveloped.

Buddhas, Bodhisttavas, guardians and arhats take their apportioned place in a gigantic three-dimensional mandala, the total effect of which is to saturate the eye, and the mind of the believer, with the manifold and all-embracing powers of God. One of the most impressive and deceptive examples of Liao-Jin period sculpture is the set of pottery figures of Luohan (arhats).

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