Two Units of the Temple on National Key Cultural Relics Protection List

LY-Temple | 2013-05-14 | View: 3040

Twin Stone Pagodas and Twin Stone Pillars of Lingyin Temple are included among the 7th batch of national key cultural relics protected units


On May 3, 2013, The State Council confirmed and announced the seventh batch of  national key cultural  relics protection units(with a total number of 1943), outnumbering all previous batches. The city of Hangzhou had an addition of 14 sites enlisted in this batch including Twin Stone Pagodas (Stupas) and Twin Sutra Pillars of Lingyin Temple, on top of the existing 24 sites enlisted in the previous six batches, bringing the total of cultural heritages sites under state protection in Hangzhou up to 38.    

The Twin Stone Pagodas and Twin Sutra Pillars of Lingyin Temple were included in the current batch under the second category  of cultural heritage, namely “ancient architecture”.

The latest enlisted architecture should be familiar sights for frequent visitors of Lingyin Temple. The Twin Stone Pagodas can be found on the left and right hand side in front of the Mahavira Hall. Standing tall, straight and full of elegance, the pagodas have more than 140 Buddha statues carved into them, which could be observed at a closer look. The building of these pagodas started in the first year of Jianlong Period, North Song Dynasty (960 AD), when Qian Hongchu (929-988AD) rebuilt Lingyin Temple. Initially four pagodas were erected, but only the two in front of Mahavira Hall were preserved. 42 metres apart, both remaining pagodas are in octagon shape with nine stories, and are imitations of the pavilion-style structures commonly used for wooden pagodas.


Twin Stone Pagodas




 Buddha statues and carvings on the Stone Pagoda

The Twin Sutra Pillars, on the other hand, stand on both sides in front of the Hall of Heavenly Kings, with the East Pillar next to the entrance of Lingyin Temple, and the West Pillar next to the exit. According to The Building of the Sutra Pillars and its appendix, both inscribed in the pillars, these pillars were erected by King of Wuyue on the second year of the Kaibao Period, North Song Dynasty (969AD). Originally built for Fengxian Temple, home temple for the royal Qian family, the pillars were moved to their present location by the Lingyin Temple abbot Yanshan in the second year of Jingyou Period, North Song Dynasty (1035AD) following the destruction of the Fengxian Temple as a result of Wuyue’s surrender to Song imperial government. The pillars initially had twelve sections each, but are now damaged. The bottom three sections of the octagon pillars were inscribed with  Dharani Incantation of the Protectress Who Grants Great Freedom and Maha pratyangira dharani ( “随求即得大自在陀罗尼大佛顶陀罗尼”).



 West and East Sutra Pillars


part of the Stone Pillar


The Twin Stone Pagodas and Twin Sutra Pillars are typical samples as well as critical evidence in the research on Song architecture, and has great scientific and academic values.