Dai Temple, located at the south foot of Mount Tai, is the largest and best-preserved ancient building complex in the scenic area of Mount Tai. It was firstly built during Han Dynasty and greatly expanded during Tang, Song Dynasties. It is a Taoist temple where emperors during the past dynasties offered sacrifice to the God of Earth to pray and say thanks for peace and prosperity. Dai Temple is in the palace style of ancient Chinese emperors, to compose over 150 ancient buildings in many kinds. It together with the Forbidden City in Beijing, “Three Kong” (Confucius Temple, the Cemetery of Confucius and Kong Family’s Mansion) in Qufu of Shangdong province and Chengde Summer Palace of Hebei province are considered as the Four Representative Ancient Chinese Buildings.
Covering a totally area of 96500 square meters, Dai Temple has gates at its four sides. The main building of Dai Temple is Tiankuang Hall (Hall of Heavenly Blessing) which was during the year 1009 in the North Song Dynasty enshrines the God of Mount Tai. It is 48.7 meters from east to west, 19.8 meters in width and 22.3 meters high. It is a double-roofed palace-like wooden structure with carved beams, painted pillars, and upturned eaves, covered by yellow glazed-tiles. On its east, west and north walls of the interior is a 3.3-meter-tall and 62-meter-long mural called God of Mount Tai Returning to the Palace. The mural portrays the scenes of the returning tour of the God of Mount Tai from a hunting excursion. There are totally over 630 figures appearing in the mural, together with various kinds of rare birds and beasts, flora, mountains and palaces. Every figure has distinctive postures and facial expressions.
There are totally 151 steles and stone inscriptions from the past dynasties in the Dai Temple, which wins Dai Temple a title of Stele Forest. Among them the rescript inscription of the second emperor of Qin Dynasty was engraved during 209 BC by Li Si, the renowned official and calligrapher of Qin Dynasty. It is one of the oldest inscriptions preserved in China. Besides, the famous steles include Hengfang Stele (168AD) and Zhangqian Stele (186 AD) of East Han Dynasty and Madam Shun Stele (272AD) of West Jin Dynasty.
I updated this article on January 1, 1970
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