Site of Cao'an Manichean Temple and Manichaeism
Site of Cao'an Manichean Temple and Manichaeism is on Wanshanfeng Moutainin Sunei Village, Yudian Town, Jinjiang City, 19 kilometers away from the South Gate of central Quanzhou. In August, 1987, the First International Manichaeism Colloquium was held in Lund University, Sweden. The Manichean Buddha statue in Cao'an Temple was the memorial symbol of the colloquium. In February, 1991, a "Silk Road of the Sea"delegation from the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization visited Cao'an Temple and deemed it as the "biggest discovery"of the investigation.
Cao'an Temple was built in front of a mountain. It is a stone temple, in the architecture form of Dan Yan Xie Shan Shi. It is about 3 Kaijian wide, with four rafters. The special design of the crossbeam under the eave makes the temple simplistic and antique.
The sitting Manichean Amitabha relief sculpture on the cliff is the most precious in the Temple. Its shrine is round, with a diameter of 1.68 meters, and the sitting statue itself is 1.52 meters long. It is unique that the face of the Buddha's statue is light greenish-blue while his hands are pink, with greyish-white clothes. This is because the sculptor took advantage of the three natural colors in rocks. This is the only existing stone statue of the Manichean Buddha in the world, so it is a national heritage conservation site. On the top left corner of the niche for the Buddha is carved a five-line passage in regular script expressing the thanks of the founder of the temple, Chen Zhenze. On the top right corner is a roughly-carved passage remembering various people's contribution to the temple. These characters are of great value because this is the only existing stone statue of Manichean Buddha in the world and the only written evidence of the construction era of the temple. Also, it is first-hand historical material essential in studying Zoroastrianism in Quanzhou.
Distinctions: Site of Cao'an Manichean Temple and Manichaeism is the only well-preserved site of Manichaeism. It is an important spot for studying the history of world religions and the communication between east and west. It is also a national heritage conservation site.
How to Get There:Take the special coach from Quanzhou to Anhai and get off at Luoshan Town.
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I updated this article on November 20, 2012
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