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Remains of the Old Luoyang

08-26-2011 09:06 BJT

The site of old Luoyang of the Han and Wei dynasties is fifteen kilometers east of thecity. Mangshan Mountain is to the north and the Luohe River is near to the south. It is surrounded by great and magnificent broken walls. It is called Xiadu City in the first years of the Western Zhou Dynasty (about 11th century to 771 B.C.), when the Duke of Zhou was stationed in Luoyi, and called Sanchuan Prefecture during the Qin Dynasty (221-207 B.C.). Liu Xiu, Emperor Guangwu of the Eastern Han Dynasty, make it his capital in the year 25. Since then it has been capital for the state of Wei of the Three Kindoms Period, Western Jin and Northern Wei Dynasties, altogether a period of over 330 years. The name recorded in historical book was old Luoyang of the Han and Wei dynasties.

The site of old Luoyang

There remains a 3,895-meter east wall, 4,290-meter west wall and a 3,700-meter north wall. The Luohe River drowned the south wall. The broken walls are one to two meters high, with two-story towers over thrity meters high and vermilion gates in the old times. The former site is an irregular rectangle with a circumference of about 14 kilometers. The main features, including the wall, are palaces, government offices and imperial gardens, etc. The Deyang Hall, north palace of the Eastern Han Dynasty, with jade white steps and gilt columns was able to hold ten thousand people and was known as a "laurel palace with pearl screens and jade doors." The palace wall of Northern Wei Dynasty was rectangular, about fourteen hundred meters north to south and about 660 meters east to west, Taiji Hall being the main hall. Outside the south gate there were three groups of important Eastern Han buildings called "Three Yong" --- Bright Hall, Piyong Academy and Lingtai Terrace. The White Horse Temple outside West Yongmen Gate is the earliest existing Buddhist temple in China. There were as many as 1,367 Buddhist temples inside and outside the city in the Northern Wei period, the imperial Yongning (Eternal Peace) Temple was the most magnificent. It was turned into ruins during wars at the end of the Northern Wei Dynasty.

The Former Site of the Eastern Han Academy

The Eastern Han Academy was built in the year 29 in the southern outskirts of old Luoyang, Near Taixue (Academy) Village and Beigang Village of Yangshi County. An institute for higher studies, teaching Confucianism, it resembled a present-day state university. There were as many as thirty thousand students, a rare thing at that time. Forty-six stone tablets called Xiping Stone Classics were erected in front of the academy in 175 and another twenty-eight called Zhengshi Stone Classics were added in the year 241. All are inscribed with Confucian classics. The Xiping Stone Classics are the earliest official Confucian classics in China.

The site is split into two major sections: east and west, the east section comprising over thirty thousand square meters and the west, about twenty thousand square meters. A large area of remins and a number of rammed earth foundations remain. Many Han and Wei broken stone classics have been found here.

The site of old Luoyang

The Former Site of Eastern Han Lingtai Terrace

In the southern outskirts of old Luoyang, between Guangshang Village and Dajiaozhai, Yanshi County, Lingtai Terrace was the largest astronomical observation terrace of the time. Built in the year 56, it was used later by the State of Wei of the Three Kingdoms Period and the Western Jin Dynasty for over 250 years. It covers an area of over forty thousand square meters. There is a central terrace thirty-one meters wide east to west, forty-one meters long north to south and over eight meters high. Around the rammed earth terrace are two tiers of platforms, the upper one used to have five rooms on each of the four sides. The lower one originally served as a winding corridor. On the top was then the observation platform surrounded by government officees for scientific research. Zhang Heng, outstaynding scientist of the Eastern Han Dynasty, carried out astronomical observations and research here, write important works on astronomy and made an armillary sphere for astronomical observation. He also constructed wind seismography, the world's first earthquake recording instrument.

Former Site of Yongning (Eternal Peace) Temple

The site of old Luoyang

The Yongning Temple in old Luoyang was built in 516. It is about three hundred meters long norh to south and two hundred meters wide east to west. History records that there were over one thousand rooms for monks. At the north was a Buddhist hall containing a six-meter-high golden Buddha, ten medium-sized golden ones, three with pearl embroidered, five of golden woven thread and two of jade. They were all skillfully made and surpassed any in the world. In the center was a square wooden pagoda about 137 meters high with 130 hanging bells. This hall was burned and it took three months to extinguish the fire. The two-story base was square. The lower one has sunk into the ground. The upper on is 38.2 meters in length and breadth and 2.2 meters high. The four sides are paved with green stones. Yongning Temple was the chief imperial temple in the Northern Wei Dynasty, typical of the time. It is an outstanding structure. In excavating the temple foundation, a group of finely made clay sculptures were found, valuable relics for studying Buddhist art in the Northern Wei Dynasty.

Piyong Tablet

"Ode to Great Virtue and Prosperity of Emperor Longxing of the Great Jin Dynasty Who Visited This Place Thrice and After Him Prince Piyong," is the full name of the tablet. It was unearthed in East Dajiao Village, Yanshi County, 13 kilometers east of Luoyang in 1931. Erected in October of the year 278, it recorded the inspection of Piyong by Sima Yan, Emperor Wudi of the Jin Dynasty and his sone Sima Zhong. Made from a single piece the tablet is carved with thirty lines, each having fifty-five characters. The other side bears the names and origins of over four hundred teachers, staff and students in Jin official script.

Take the bus to White Horse Temple, on arrival walk 1.5 kilometers east to the tablet.

Editor:Zheng Limin |Source: New World Press

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