Xuankong Temple, Datong, Shanxi
(August 23, 2012)

(1) The so-called "Hanging Temple" was supposed to boast "spectacularity." It was cool, but I was not overwhelmed. Bill Porter says that in fact it was never a working monastery, but just a place for military personnel to come and appease the appropriate gods. Gotta check that out. Looks pretty amazing, right?

(2) But a wider view shows it's not so far above the canyon floor. I've seen Native American cliff dwellings that were higher.

(3) So let's forget the whole "hanging" thing and just enjoy a pretty little temple, with some fine woodwork and great old statues.

(4) This little pavilion would have been more pleasant if half of China hadn't been crammed inside.

(5) Great woodwork and painted detail.

(6) Location, location, location.

(7) Some indication of how little halls cling to the cliff.

(8) I'm not claustrophobic, but the crowds in such narrow spaces were a bit trying.

(9) This exterior stair isn't at all scary; but imagine that with almost no clearance, and filled with people. It was fun! (NOT)

(10) Much is made of the fact that all three of China's "teachings" are present; in one hall were (l to r) Laozi, the Buddha, and Confucius.

(11) A Shakyamuni Buddha and his usual attendants, Ananda and Kasyapa. Ananda seems to have lost his hands.

(12) A small, exquisite example of my favorite Buddha, Vairochana.

(13) Why does this shot make me think of an ant farm?

(14) I caught this little Susie taking a picture of her mom on my way out.

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Getting away was tough--no regular buses, etc. So I started walking the 4km to the nearest bus station--and a local bus came by! After transferring to a highway bus (twice), an hour and only 20rmb later I was at my next destination.

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Last Updated August 21, 2019

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