Bixia Temple (Azure Cloud Temple) is located south of the summit of Mount Tai, Jade Emperor Peak, east of Heavenly Street, and 6.5 kilometers away from Dai Temple. It was firstly built at the year of 1008 during the Song Dynasty and was originally called Zhaozhen Temple. It gained the present name Bixia Temple at the year of 1770 during the Qing Dynasty after a restoration.
It is a grand building complex set among high mountains which consists of twelve pieces of distinctive architecture. Bixia Temple has a compact overall arrangement and the buildings are arranged along the medial axis symmetrically. When looking up at it from Heavenly Street, the temple is surrounded by clouds. If looking down on from the summit, its palaces and halls hide between the peaks. It is the one of the masterpieces among Taoist buildings and represents the high constructing level of ancient Chinese architecture.
As one of the Chinese mythologies goes, Bixia Temple was the heavenly residence of the Goddess, Yuanjun (Supreme Monarch). Goddess Yuanjun is also called the Mother of Mount Tai who might bring good luck to people especially to women and children according to Chinese mythology. She is said to be the daughter of the God of Mountain.
The temple consists of two courtyards. A gilded bronze sculpture of Goddess Yuanjun is housed in the main hall of Bixia Temple. Because of the fog and rain on the high mountain, wood is vulnerable to decay, and the tiles can be easily wrecked by the strong wind, therefore the tiles and other parts of the temple were made of iron. In the early period of Qing Dynasty, the iron tiles were replaced with bronze tiles. In terms of scale and materials, the Bixia temple stands out from all structures at the top of Mount Tai.
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I updated this article on January 1, 1970
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