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Kaiyuan Temple

The Kaiyuan Temple on the West Street in the city, first built in the year 686 A.D. and covering an area of 78,000 square meters, are equally famous as the Quangji Temple in Beijing and the Lingyin Temple in Hangzhou.
The Main hall of the temple, the "Purple Cloud Hall", is 20 meters in total height, 9-bay in width and 6-bay in depth, with an area of 1,287 square meters. It is large in scale and has three distinguished features rarely seen in other temples: 100 heavy stone columns supporting the roof of the hall-- the Hall of One Hundred Pillars; five huge Buddha statues standing in the same hall; and most admirable being the flying musicians carved on some of the pillars. The 24 flying musicians supporting the beams have the upper part of their bodies that of a beautiful woman and the lower part that of a bird. Wearing thin skirts and holding musical instruments or sacrificial objects, they seem to be singing and dancing among the beams. The ancient artists thus skillfully used these 24 figures to support the beams and to symbolize 24 solar terms, and made them to wait upon the buddha day and night. This masterpiece ingeniously embodies the harmonious unity of mechanics, aesthetics and Buddhism.



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