Event highlights history of landmark museum

Updated: Dec 6, 2022 China Daily Print
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A unique event featuring historical style, the 2022 Jinci Ancient Chinese Culture Festival, was held at the Jinci Museum in the Shanxi provincial capital of Taiyuan on Nov 5, with shows performed by artists wearing ancient costumes.

Jinci, in the southwestern suburbs of Taiyuan, was the temple for kings of the Jin Kingdom (1033-376 BC). It is now a landmark tourist attraction in the city with centuries-old and even millennium-long ancient structures and picturesque scenery.

At the opening ceremony of the festival, visitors were treated to various shows imitating the lives of those in the Jin Kingdom as well as the later periods that followed.

Even tour guides and service staff at the museum were dressed in ancient costumes, who introduced the tourists to the history of the temple and the Jin Kingdom, as well as stories and legends related to the site and the city of Taiyuan.

According to Qiu Ping, manager for public services at Jinci Museum, this was the third time that Jinci has played host to the ancient-style cultural festival, since its inception in 2020.

About 25 kilometers from downtown Taiyuan, Jinci Temple is a historical cultural site offering fine examples of ancient Chinese architecture, landscaped gardening, sculptures, frescoes and stone stele inscriptions.

The temple features a royal garden with copious pagoda trees and a 3,000-year-old cypress, as well as palaces, moated pavilions and bridges that branch off each other.

First constructed during the Northern Wei Dynasty (386-534), the temple stands in memory of prince Ji Yu of the Western Zhou Dynasty (c. 11th century-771 BC), who became the first sovereign of the Jin Kingdom, on the site of his kingdom's capital. It was a monument to pay homage to his commitment and dedication to improving the lives of his people.

Modified and expanded over subsequent centuries, the existing temple is a diverse collection of more than 100 sculptures, bridges, terraces and buildings.

Most of the temple's dozens of buildings were built after the Tang Dynasty (618-907), primarily using wood, tiles and stone.

A number of buildings have been well preserved and retain a natural look with wooden surfaces weathered over many hundreds of years.

The most famous building at Jinci Temple is the five-story Yi Jiang Hall, built in the Song Dynasty (960-1279). Yi Jiang was the mother of Ji Yu. The hall is a grand structure decorated with yellow and green glazed edgework and carved wooden dragons coiled around its eight supporting pillars of its convex double-eave roof.

Inside Jinci Temple are painted sculptures crafted in the Song Dynasty, some of the temple's strongest historical offerings. Statues of Yi Jiang and 42 of her maids provide a vivid depiction of numerous Song Dynasty characteristics.

Jinci Temple was listed as a national 4A tourist attraction in 2001.

Wu Jia contributed to this story.

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