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Bamboo Temple

Bamboo Temple

Chinese name: 筇竹寺(Qiong Zhu Si).
Location: HeiQiong Road, Xishan District, Kunming City, Yunnan Province.
Opening time: 08:00-17:00

Brief introduction of Bamboo Temple
First built during the Tang dynasty, it was rebuilt in the 19th century by master Sichuanese sculptor Li Guangxiu and his apprentices, who fashioned 500 luóhàn (arhats or noble ones) in a fascinating mishmash of superb realism and head-scratching exaggerated surrealism. Li and his mates pretty much went gonzo in their excruciating, eight-year attempt to perfectly represent human existence in statuary. How about the 70-odd surfing Buddhas, riding the waves on a variety of mounts – blue dogs, giant crabs, shrimp, turtles and unicorns? And this is cool: count the arhats one by one to the right until you reach your age – that is the one that best details your inner self. So lifelike are the sculptures that they were considered in bad taste by Li Guangxiu’s contemporaries (some of whom no doubt appeared in caricature), and upon the project’s completion he disappeared into thin air. The temple is about 12km northwest of Kūnmíng.
Legend of Bamboo Temple
During the Tang Dynasty (618 – 907), Yunnan was a separate country called Dali. One day, while two brothers of royal lineage were hunting in the hills outside Kunming, they spotted a bizarre rhinoceros. With hopes of capturing it, they followed the rhinoceros deep into the woods of Yu’an Mountain where the magical animal suddenly disappeared. Just as they lost sight of the rhinoceros, the brothers saw a group of monks who were unlike any monks they had seen before. When the monks saw the brothers, they vanished in clouds leaving only their walking sticks planted in the ground. By the following day, these walking sticks had become an entire bamboo forest. The amazed brothers knew that they had met enlightened, supernatural beings and, in order to honor them, they built Bamboo Temple in the forest of bamboo.

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