Two Kings Temple (Dujiangyan, Sichuan)

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Lying at the foot of Yulei Mountain, on the eastern bank of the Minjiang River, Dujiangyan City (formerly Guanxian County), Sichuan, Two Kings Temple 1 worships Li Bing and his son who had the Dujiangyan irrigation works built. First built in the Eastern Han, it was the Shrine of the Wangdi Emperor ( 望帝祠Wangdi Ci ) in memory of Duyu, King of the Ancient Shu State. During the Jianwu Era (494-498) of Qi in the Southern Dynasties, the Governor of Yizhou Prefecture had the Shrine of the Wangdi Emperor moved to Pi County and worshipped Li Bing in the temple renamed as Temple of Lofty Virtue ( 崇德廟Chongde Miao ). In the 5th year (972) of the Kaibao Era of the Song, people added a statue of Erlang, Son of Li Bing. In the 7th year (1117) of the Zhenghe Era, the temple suffered a fire disaster and was recovered soon. In the 12th year of the Jiajing Era of the Ming, the temple was rebuilt. In the Qing Dynasty, the temple was formally named as Two Kings Temple and experienced repairs and extensions many times. In 1925, the temple painfully suffered a severe fire disaster and lost most of its halls. In the same year, Abbot Li Yunyan began to rebuild the temple with money gained through selling real estate and donations. It took ten years to finish the reconstruction. After the founding of the Peoples’ Republic, the temple was listed as a national key protection unit of cultural relics and enjoyed good preservation.

This large-sized temple has from its mountain gate (Tower of Music) three tiers of main halls and 16 tiers of side halls. Among the main halls, the Great Hall of Two Kings is for the worship of the three-eyed god Erlang with a wooden statue of Yang Erlang; the Hall of the Elder King worships Li Bing and his Wife; the Hall of the Venerable Sovereign worships The Supreme Venerable Sovereign with the Immortal Elder of South Pole ( 南極仙翁Nanji Xianweng ). The side halls on the left and right include the Hall of the Green Dragon, the Hall of the White Tiger, the Hall of The Three Officials, the Hall of The Numinous Official, the Hall of The City God, the Hall of The Earth Spirit, the Hall of The Jade Emperor, the Hall of Grandma, the Palace for Prayer for the Son, the Shrine of Gentleman Ding, the Hall of the Holy Mother, the Pavilion of the Kui Star, and the Hall of the Dragon Deity.

The most characteristic building of the temple is the Tower of Music. A sloping mountain-top-style construction built in the 8th year (1743) of the Qianlong Era of Qing, the tower bestrides upon the temple entrance of stone steps. Extruding eaves reach out 20 meters, the tower is a finely designed masterpiece.

The Daoist priests in the temple attached great importance to collecting Li Bing and others’ experience about water control. They carved in the temple stonewalls the essentials such as “Dig Deep in shoal and build weir low” as lessons for later water controllers. On both sides of the back hall are tablets of pictures of heavenly horses, jade maidens and the story of the millet dream by famous painters as Xu Beihong, Zhang Daqian and Guan Shanyue.