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0207 History of the Expedition in Asia, 1927-1935 : vol.2
History of the Expedition in Asia, 1927-1935 : vol.2 / Page 207 (Color Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000210
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of the lattice-work was gone. On a magnificent marble socle, decorated with finely carved dragon and flower ornamentation, and directly under the pavilion roof, was a divinity riding on a terrible monster that resembled a lion. On either side of him were bodyguards or custodians. Folk-lore says that the rider on the lion is the divine representation of the Emperor CH'IEN LUNG as Manjuzri.


The Lo-han-t'ang or Temple of Five Hundred Lohans is situated to the W. N. W. of the Potala on the north slope of the Lion Valley. It was built in 1774. In the great temple we walked through a perfect labyrinth of aisles between double rows of five hundred Lohans, carved in wood, gilded, and of life-size. Many of them wore thin yellow mantles, the gifts of pious believers. One could walk endlessly through the long aisles, gazing with delight at the countless silent saints, sitting there meditating in every imaginable attitude. Some had outstretched hands; others had hands raised upwards, or one hand resting on a knee while the other touched the forehead; some held out their hands as if they were expounding the holy writings to a gathering of disciples; others looked serious and meditative; others again were smiling and ironic; and there were some carved with such inimitable humour that they would have done excellently as caricatures in a comic paper.

The temple had also a drum-tower and a bell-tower. Like everything else in Jehol, the sanctuary was falling into decay. In one corner the roof had fallen in; beams and planks hung by a thread, so that it was dangerous to pass underneath them. The sunlight streamed through the gaping holes, and these parts of the temple were at least well lighted. Many of the Lohans had been moved, so that they should not be utterly ruined by rain and snow.


Though the Temple of Confucius is not situated in the immediate neighbourhood of the other temples just described, it is worth mentioning with a few words. In its main pavilion there are several memorial tablets and other objects. In a smaller `kiosk' the records were supported by a stone tortoise like that in the Hsinkung, but smaller. The Emperor CH'IEN LUNG is said to have founded this temple too. It was surrounded by a small park, and the pine-trees planted round the main hall formed a kind of outer cloister which accorded perfectly with the beautifully made columns and the sober lines of the structure.