Chengdu is the capital of China’s Sichuan province and is one of the only major places that has maintained its name nearly unchanged and its location from imperial to communist eras. Chengdu served as capital to Liu Bei’s Shu during the Three Kingdoms Era (220-280 AD). Nowadays, it is famed for being the home of the giant pandas and wonderful spicy food. Chengdu also serves as a great base to visit nearby sites such as LeShan Giant Buddha and Sanxingdui archaeological site. We stayed at The Temple House hotel in central Chengdu for the next 6 days. This first post will cover the places we visited within the city of Chengdu.
Qingyang Palace 青羊宫 is a Taoist temple where the most integrated collection of the study of Taoism, Dao Zang Ji Yao, is stored. Qingyang Palace dates back to the Zhou Dynasty (1046-256 BC) where the founder of Taoism, Laozi, expounded the texts of Tao Te Ching to an official Guan Yin. The palace was first built during the Tang Dynasty (618-907) over a thousand years ago and what we see today is mostly built during the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911). The structure is made up of six main buildings: the Front Gate, Hunyuan Hall, Hall of Three Purities or Sanqing Hall, Hall of Goddess Doumu, Hall of Jade Emperor, and Hall of Tang Emperors. One can see clearly the Taoist style of architecture with glazed tiled roofs, animal carvings decorating the pillars, and the Ying Yang symbol. You will notice that all visitors will rub the pair of bronze goat sculptures placed in front of Sanqing Hall. The goat on the left is actually a mythical creature which combines the features of the 12 animal signs of the Chinese zodiac. It has a mouse’s ears, an ox’s nose, a tiger’s claws, a rabbit’s mouth, a dragon’s horn, a snake’s tail, a horse’s face, a goat’s beard, a chicken’s eyes, a dog’s belly, and a pig’s thighs. Legend has it that these two bronze goats were incarnates of two servants of the Pure Emperor and that they could cure all diseases. It is believed that touching a certain part of the goat will release pain and disease from that equivalent part on the human body.
Chengdu is a large city and there are many more sites which we did not have time to visit. Next post will be about one of the highlights of our trip which is the Giant Pandas of Sichuan. Stay tuned!
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