Temple Dedicated to Chinese Taoist Monk Excavated

Beijing

Chinese archaeologists have excavated a major temple dedicated to a Chinese Taoist master in east China's Jiangxi Province.

Zhang Daoling (34-156), who founded a sect of Taoism and was known as Celestial Master Zhang, is believed to have lived and practised Taoism at Longhu Mountain in Jiangxi, where a temple was built during the Han Dynasty (202 BC -220 AD) and renovated and expanded in the following centuries.

"It was a very important Taoist site in history," Xu Changqing, head of the Jiangxi provincial archaeological institute told state-run Xinhua news agency.

The temple Shangqing Palace was destroyed in a fire in 1930. Excavation on the temple started last June.

The ruins covered about 10,000 square metres (about one hectare), where pieces of pottery and porcelain as well as building components were unearthed, including some glazed tiles found in the temple's ancient paintings.

"The items discovered suggest how the palace evolved from the Song Dynasty to the Qing," said Xin Lixian, a research fellow with the National Museum of China.

He noted that only a small part of the palace was excavated.

According to Xin, the palace's ruins were among the largest and best preserved in south China.

"It also provides scientific evidence for research on ancient Chinese royal architecture," he said.

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