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Xianyou Temple Museum

Xianyou Temple Museum, Xi'an

Xianyou Temple in Xi'an is located in Zhouzhi County, about 17 kilometers south of the black Shuiyu in Heihe as Pearl. Owing to the history that says Emperor Wen of the Sui Dynasty (581 – 618) once built a pagoda there to settle Buddha Relics as well as being the birthplace of Chinese classical poetry The Everlasting Regret by Bai Juyi (772-846), it has long been regarded as a famous tourism site.

History & Background
The temple has a very long history. It was built in the Sui Dynasty in 598, during the Emperor Wen (Yang Jian) period (581 – 600). The Emperor Wen was going on an inspection tour at that time. When he came to this area, he was delighted with the beautiful scenery of the place and ordered a palace to be built and named it Xianyou Palace. As its name implied, it was a place for the emperor to have entertainment. Then in 601, Emperor Wen ordered a pagoda to be constructed in the palace to settle the Buddha relics, which is the Sarira Pagoda. From then on, the palace was renamed as Xianyou Temple. Since then, the temple was renamed and repaired several times, but still remained known as Xianyou Temple till today.   


They were reputated as Black River Pearl. The temple situated on the south bank is Xianyou Temple and was generally called the south temple. During the reign of Emperor Ming Yingzong six years, the name was changed to Puyuan Sacrificing Temple. It was repaired during the Qing Dynasty. Presently, there remained five main halls, clay sculpture, brass casting and wood engraving image of Buddha where the sculpture is extremely exquisite.

Sarira Pagoda cultural relics
They are preserved in the main exhibition room of the museum. There are 102 pieces of historical relics in total, including Sarira Pagoda cultural relics and exhibits of other time periods. Sarira Pagoda cultural relics, as the name suggests, are exhibits related to the Buddha. Among the exhibits, there are sarcophagus, gilding bronze coffins, Phials, and some Buddha Relics. Besides, there is an Incense Burner, a stele of the pedestal of the Sarira Pagoda, and seven precious stone stele rubbings. These exhibits are very valuable for understanding and research of the development of Buddhism and painting art in Sui and Tang Dynasties. The other exhibitions are cultural relics unearthed around the original Xianyou Temple from Longshan Period (about 4500 years before) to the Qing Dynasty. Stone vessels, bone implements, pottery, porcelain, jade article, silverware, etc, fully reflect the achievement in art and science of the local people.


Ancient and modern steles
As a historical site came into being in Sui and Tang Dynasties, the temple always has charm for the ancient scholars. It attracted many famous poets, painters and calligraphers to come and find their inspiration. Among them, the most famous is Ba Juyi, who created the Chinese classical poetry The Everlasting Regret in the temple in 706. Stone steles of calligraphy of The Everlasting Regret from different time periods are now highlights of the temple; each of them has its own distinctive features. They enriched the exhibition content in the museum. In addition, the museum now has an iron bell of epigraph, 19 ancient stone steles, and 25 modern and contemporary celebrities’ inscriptions. To understand the long history of this temple and the background as well as the artistic charm of The Everlasting regret, this museum is the best place to go.

Xianyou_Temple_1.jpg    Xianyou_Temple_2.jpg

Travel Guide

Address: 17km South of Zhouzhi County
Admission Fee: CNY 10
Opening Hours: 08:00-18:00
Time for Visit: 2 hours

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