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Nanchan Temple

Na-Chan Temple Na-Chan Temple

Nanchan Temple is a Buddhist temple located near the town of Doucun on Wutaishan, Shanxi Province, China. Nanchan Temple was built in 782 CE during China's Tang Dynasty, and its Great Buddha Hall is currently China's oldest preserved timber building extant, as wooden buildings are often prone to fire and various destructions. Not only is Nanchan Temple an important architectural site, but it also contains an original set of artistically-important Tang sculptures dating from the period of its construction. Seventeen sculptures share the hall's interior space with a small stone pagoda.

HistoryAccording to an inscription on a beam, the Great Buddha Hall of Nanchan Temple was first built in 782 CE during the Tang Dynasty.[1] It escaped destruction during the Buddhist purges of 845, perhaps due to its isolated location in the mountains. Another inscription on a beam indicates that the hall was renovated in 1086 of the Song Dynasty, and during that time all but four of the original square columns were replaced with round columns.[2] In the 1950s the building was rediscovered by architectural historians, and in 1961 it was recognized as China's oldest standing timber-frame building. Just five years later in 1966, the building was damaged in an earthquake, and during the renovation period in the 1970s, historians got a chance to study the building piece by piece.