Temple of Supreme Simplicity on Mt. Qiyun (Anhui)

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Mt. Qiyun, one of China's famous Daoist immortal mountains, is located in Yanqian Township, 15 km west of Xiuning County, Anhui province. The Temple of Supreme Simplicity ( 太素宮 Taisu Gong ) is the chief Daoist temple on the mountain. It was originally named Shrine of the Perfect Warrior and Guardian Sage ( 佑聖真武祠 Yousheng Zhenwu ci ) and established in the Baoqing era of the Southern Song dynasty (1225-1227). The statue of the Perfect Warrior enshrined in the temple was said to have been molded with bits of earth carried by a hundred birds and to be miraculously efficacious. In the 11th year in the Jiajing era during the reign of Emperor Shizong of the Ming dynasty (1532), Zhang Yanyu, the 48th Celestial Master ( 天師 Tianshi ) of The Orthodox Oneness Sect ( 正一 Zhengyi ) on Mt. Longhu, memorialized to the emperor to order Daoists to go to Mt. Qiyun and perform an Offering ritual, praying for heirs. Their wish came true. So the emperor issued an edict to enlarge the Temple of the Perfect Warrior and renamed it the Supreme Simplicity Temple of the Mysterious Heaven ( 玄天太素宮 Xuantian Taisu Gong ). According to the records of Xu Xiake, a traveler of the Ming dynasty, "The temple faces north. The statue of the Mysterious Emperor was molded with bits of earth carried by a hundred birds. Its complexion is dark. This statue was produced in the Song dynasty. The hall was renovated in the 37th year of the Jiajing era (1558). The inscription on the tablet in the court was given by Emperor Shizong. On the left and right sides of the hall lie the hall of Numinous Official ( 靈官 lingguan ) Wang and that of Supreme Commander ( 元帥 yuanshuai ) Zhao. Both of them are magnificent. The temple leans against a 'jade screen', the Qiyun Cliff, and faces the Censer Summit." A street, the Yuehua Street, forms round the temple. It is the dwelling place inhabited by both Daoists and mountain inhabitants, the shopping street on the mountain, and the place where pilgrims and tourists put up for the night. Now in the street there are eight old Daoist houses and many Hui-styled civilian residences, which, together with temples and courtyards form a dense architectural complex. TheTemple of Supreme Simplicity was destroyed in the "Great Cultural Revolution". Restoration started in 1994. In 1997, the inauguration ceremony for the main hall and the consecration ceremony for the statue were held. The second phase of the restoration project is in process now.