White Cloud Temple in White Cloud Mountain (Jia County, Shaanxi)

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One of the biggest holy lands in the northwestern loess altiplano, the White Cloud Temple on White Cloud Mountain ( 白雲山白雲觀Baiyun Shan Baiyun Guan ) lies at the bank of the Yellow River 5 kilometers south of Jia County, Shaanxi. According to records, it was first built in the 33rd year (1605) of the Wanli Era of the Ming and rebuilt and extended in the 2nd year (1724)of the Yongzheng Era of the Qing. Occupying over 80 mu of land, the White Cloud Temple has 53 halls besides the guesthouse, kitchen, storehouse and cave-houses for pilgrims. The main constructions include the Arch, the Five Dragons Palace, the Four Heavenly Gates, the Hall of the Perfect Warrior, the Hall of the Three Officers, the Tower of Scriptures, the Tower of the Jade Emperor, the Hall of the Three Pristine Ones, and the Pavilion of Kui Star ( 魁星閣Kuixing Ge ).

A beautiful sculpture, the 12-meter-high wood Arch has two-layered eaves, multiple systems of brackets and 26 ornamental ridge beasts on the main ridge. In the tabernacle in the Five Dragons Palace stands the holy statue of the five dragons upholding the saint. On both walls of the hall are frescoes of the story of the Great Sovereign Perfect Warrior Attaining Dao. The main hall of the temple, the Hall of the Perfect Warrior, is a fine construction with ornamental ridge beasts, ornamental precious cauldrons and dragon proboscis made of green glaze decorating both the top ridge and the side ridges. Below the brims are decorative hanging carvings and relief pictures. In the shrine in the magnificent hall stands the bronze statue of the 3-meter-high Perfect Warrior weighing 2500 kilograms. On both stand clay sculptures of ten major marshals. On the wall is the Chart of All Stars Oriented Toward the Holy ( 普天星斗朝聖圖Putian Xingdou Chaosheng Tu ) painted in the Qing Dyansty. With many characters in fluent lines, the picture is a masterpiece of the Qing Dynasty. In the courtyard there are drum and bell towers. In the Bell Tower hangs a huge bell weighing 5000 kilograms, which was casted in the Ming Dyansty. Opposite to the main hall stands an opera tower. Every 3rd of the 3rd lunar month, 8th of the 4th lunar month, and 9th of the 9th lunar month people hold the White Cloud Temple Fair and operas are often performed in the tower. In 1947, Chairman Mao enjoyed an opera here together with the ordinary people.

The Tower of Scriptures once collected a decree by the Shenzong Emperor to the abbot and the priests as well as a complete set of the Daoist Canon betowed by the emperor. The Decree is in good condition today but pitifully, the canon does not exist.

Now in the White Cloud Temple there remain over 1900 frescoes, 108 tablets, over 40 steles, and stone lions and ancient bells, all of which are an important cultural relic.