Supreme Harmony Temple (Yan'an, Shanxi)

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Yan'an has a famous Daoist scenic spot, Supreme Harmony Mountain ( 太和山 Taihe Shan ). Also called Heavenly Mountain and Lotus Peak, it lies at the top of Cool Mountain to the north of Yan'an city. Nearby, the Jialing Mountain with a pagoda lies to its south and Phoenix Mountain to its west. A long-standing saying goes: "Among the three mountains, Supreme Harmony is the first."


According to historical materials, a Daoist priest named Xun Daoxu erected Purple Pole Palace ( 紫極宮 Ziji Gong ) on Supreme Harmony Mountain in the Yuanfeng Era (1078--1085) in the Northern Song. Mijasahasu, Duke of the Ren State and Grand Governor of Troops in Yan'an Prefecture, rebuilt the Purple Sublimity Hall of the North Pole in the 10th year of the Dading Era in the Jin Dynasty. In the Hongwu Era (1368-1398) of the Ming Dynasty, the government established a Daoist Discipline Office ( 道紀司 Daoji Si ) in the Purple Pole Palace on Supreme Harmony Mountain. After ascending to the throne, the Chengzu Emperor mandated that Taoist temples be built all over the country in thanks to deities' bliss. Under imperial order, Supreme Harmony Mountain enlarged its Daoist halls. In the 15th year (1536) of the Jiajing Era, the Hall of the Perfect Warrior ( 真武殿 Zhenwu Dian ) was built. In the 5th year (1577) of the Wanli Era, Hong Jiyuan, the Governor of Yan'an Prefecture, had the Hall of the Perfect Warrior rebuilt into a magnificent and prosperous temple. In the 39th year (1774) of the Qianlong Era of the Qing Dynasty, people had the Hall of the Holy Grandpa and Holy Grandma ( 聖公聖母殿 Shenggong Shengmu Dian ) rebuilt. Temples on Supreme Harmony Mountain remained in good condition and complete till the end of the Qing and the beginning of the Republic.


The main temple of the mountain, the Temple of the Perfect Warrior, or the Palace of Supreme Harmony, lies on the mountain top, the Lotus Peak. It reached its prime in size during the Ming. After damage by wars in the Tongzhi Era (1862-1874) of the Qing, it was restored in the Guangxu Era (1875-1908). In 1938, the Palace of Supreme Harmony suffered from the Japanese invaders'bombs and only one hall, a bronze statue of the Perfect Warrior, a bronze bell, and a mountain gate survived. The People's Government rebuilt the temple twice in 1956 and 1960. After the great calamity of the Cultural Revolution, the Palace of Supreme Harmony almost disappeared except for the basement of the great hall and vestiges of the stone steps to the mountain. In 1985, the religious policy was implemented in Supreme Harmony Mountain. With the support of the Provincial Daoist Association, local Daoist followers collected money and rebuilt the Great Hall of The Perfect Warrior Ancestor ( 真武祖師大殿 Zhenwu Zushi Dadian ), the Hall of the Four Heavenly Kings ( 四大天王殿 Sida Tianwang Dian ), the Hall of The Jade Emperor ( 玉皇殿 Yuhuang Dian ), the Hall of Guanyin ( 觀音殿 Guanyin Dian ), the Hall of The Fortune God ( 財神殿 Caishen Dian ), the Hall of the Dragon King ( 龍王殿 Longwang Dian ), and the Hall of the Primal Stars ( 元辰殿 Yuanchen Dian ). They also built a paved road and water duct to the mountain. In the 1990s, the Daoist Administration Committee carried out a series of construction projects, including 57 halls and a music hall. Thousands of pine trees planted around the temple beautified the mountain and Yan'an.


The present Supreme Harmony Mountain is large and prosperous. It has four traditional temple fairs each year:

  1. The 1st to the 15th of the first lunar month;
  2. The 28th of the third lunar month to the 10th of the fourth month;
  3. The 13th to the 15th of the sixth lunar month;
  4. The 9th to the 11th of the ninth lunar month.