Click for page continue
The northern end of Palace Lane is facing
to the gate of Xuanmiao Temple.
Xuanmiao Temple (Temple of Mystery)
Xuanmiao Temple or “Temple of Mystery” is a prominent Taoist temple with a long history,
located at the center of old Suzhou City. The street along east-west direction in front of the
temple is called Guanqian Street, a famed business pedestrian street in Suzhou. A lane called
Gong Xiang (宫巷) along north-south direction leads directly to the gate.
Xuanmiao Temple was founded in Western Jin Dynasty (AD 276), and was initially named
“Zhen Qing Dao Yuan”. It was destroyed by wars in Southern Song Dynasty. It was rebuilt in
Song Dynasty (1174–1189), and was renamed Xuanmiao Guan in 1264. During the reign of the
Kangxi Emperor in the Qing Dynasty, the temple was renamed Yuanmiao Guan (元妙觀) to
avoid naming taboo because the emperor's personal name, Xuan-Ye (玄燁), contained the
Chinese character xuan (玄).
Covering an area of about 1,100 square meters (1,316 square yards), the San Qing Dian (Pure
Trinity Hall) is the main hall here. Built during the Song Dynasty (960-1279), this hall features
wood construction. Standing in front of the hall, tourists will find a plaque hung overhead with
the three Chinese characters 'San' 'Qing' and 'Dian' written on it.
In the hall stand statues of the trinity San Qing (three Pure Gods) for people to worship. In the
middle is Yu Qing (Jade Pure). On either side of Yu Qing stand Shang Qing (Upper Pure) and
Tai Qing (Great Pure). The three statues are gold-gilded clay sculptures, each with a height of
about 7 meters (23 feet). They look solemn and imposing as if they were still alive.
Other halls including the Caishen Hall (Hall of the God of Wealth) and the Wenchang Hall are
also worth visiting.
San Qing Dian
(Pure Trinity Hall)
(Hall of Wealth God)
Xuanmiao Guan Square
The gate of Xuanmiao Temple
(Zheng Shan Men)
The schematic of Xuanmiao Guan
Guanqian Street middle section archway and the
gate of Xuanmiao Temple (Zheng Shan Men).
The gate of Xuanmiao Temple (Zheng Shan Men)
The first structure of the temple that visitors see is the Zheng Shan Men. It is
built entirely from wood. The Zheng Shan Men is aligned south to north, with
the main entrance facing south.
Nailed Stone Railings
The railings of San Qing Dian are
chained by saw iron, which look
like being nailed up. It is a relic of
the Five Dynasty.
San Qing Dian is the main hall of the Xuanmiao Temple. It is rebuilt by the Southern
Song Dynasty (1179). The dimension of the main hall is 45.64 m wide, 25.25 m deep,
and 27 m high, wide and deep in the ratio of 9:5. The hall features wood construction.
In the hall stand statues of the San Qing (three Pure Gods) for people to
worship. The three Pure Gods are Yu Qing, Shang Qing (Upper Pure) and
Tai Qing (Great Pure). The three Pure Gods statues are clay gold-gilded
sculptures, each of the statues with a height of about 7 meters (23 feet).
Photo from www
Tai Qing 太清道德天尊Yu Qing 玉清元始天尊Shang Qing 上清靈寶天尊
道教三清尊神Three Gods of Taoism