|Wu Zetian Huangze Temple |
Originally called “Wunu Temple” or “Chuanzhu Temple”, Huangze Temple is situated at the bottom of Wulong Mountain, in the west bank of Jialing River and one thousand meters away from the Guangyuan City in the west. Built around the late North Wei Dynasty, it was renamed as “Huangze Temple” in Tang Dynasty to pray for the blessing of Wu Zetian for her hometown, which was said to become goddess after her death. Thus, her sculpture of real size has been worshiped in the temple since then. It is the only temple worshiping Wu Zetian, the empress and one of the first Key Cultural Relics announced by the State Council in 1961. A big temple fair is held there on 23rd of the first lunar month every year. Guangyuan people rush to Wulong Pond in front of Huangze Temple to race boat and swim to commemorate the birth of Wu Zetian.
The Moya sculpture preserved in Huangze Temple is of high value in art. There are six large caves, fixity niches, and 1,203 sculptures. The present temple was built in Qing Dynasty. There are Zetian Hall, Hole of Newel, Grand Buddha Tower, Petty Nan Sea, Luzu Pavilion, Wufo Pavilion, Wangjiang Tower, newly built Empress Village, relievo in Song Dynasty, Stele Forest of Red Army slogans and other ancient or modern buildings.
There is a stone sculpture of Wu Zetian in Zetian Hall. The middle cave hosts the sculptures engraved in South and North Dynasty, Sui, Tang, Song Dynasties. These sculptures were built from the late North Dynasty to Qing Dynasty. The highly skilled engraving had lasted for a long period.
The temple has preserved precious Moya sculptures of Buddha in flourishing times of Tang Dynasty, the exquisite sculpture of Kwan-yin of Sui Dynasty in Wufo Pavilion, relievos in the tombs of Song Dynasty, as well as the sculptures of the famous “Twelve Pictures about Silkworm Breeding” which is recorded in “Textile History of China”. There are 52 niches, over 1,200 sculptures, engraved from North Dynasty to the middle and late Tang Dynasty. It is one of the earliest excavated caves in Sichuan. The major niches are No.15 Niche (excavated in North Zhou Period), Dafo Niche (excavated in early Tang Dynasty), Central Tazhu Niche (excavated in North Wei) and Wufo Niche (excavated in early Tang Dynasty). The themes of the sculptures are mostly Sanshi Buddha, Amitabha, Mile Buddha, Kwan-yin Buddha, Dizang, samsara, and Tuoluoni Sutra Column.
Due to the demolishment of Kuomintang government who built a highroadthrough the Middle hall of the temple in 1933, plus the passing of Chengyu Railway through the area, Huangze Temple becomes rather small compared with that in the past. However, Wufo Pavilion, Petty Nanhai Sea, Lvzu Pavilion, Zetian Hall, and 6 caves, 41 niches, over 1000 sculptures are arranged orderly and remain extraordinarily impressive. The resplendent and magnificent Huangze Temple is the most remarkable place for memorizing Wu Zetian in Guangyuan. The temple where the sculpture of Wu Zetian is preserved used to be the family temple of Wu clan. Nowadays, it is still a good place to enjoy the view of the whole Guangyuan City.