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Jin Memorial Hall

Jin Memorial Hall

Located at the foot of Mt. Xuanweng (the very place where Jinhe River originates) and 25 kilometers to the southwestern region of Taiyuan, is where the Jin Memorial Hall is. It has an area of over 1,300,000 square meters and is the ancestral temple of Marquis Tang Shuyu who founded the Jin Kingdom at the beginning of the Western Zhou Dynasty. According to historical records and textual research, Jin Memorial Hall has a history of 1,500 years. It’s a famous scenic area with a combination of natural landscape, ancient buildings, gardens, statues and stone inscriptions. In 1961, the State Council announced it as one of the earliest cultural heritages under state-level preservation. In 2001, it was elected the national 4-A-level scenic area.

Jin Memorial Hall is China’s oldest classic memorial temple complex in existence with 98 buildings that are over 300 hundred years old, 110 statues, 300 stone inscriptions and 37 foundry art works. A place like Jin Memorial Hall with so many cultural relics are rarely seen elsewhere. Jin Memorial Hall is the sole representation of solemness and elegance, the perfect combination of buildings and surroundings as well as the gem of the world’s arts and treasures.

As the oldest main buildings of Jin Memorial Hall in existence, Shengmu Palace, was originally built in the ninth year during the reign of Emperor Zhao Kuangyi of the Northern Song Dynasty (984 AD). It serves as the oldest model in existence for architecture complexes. It is also representative of the architectures of the Song Dynasty and plays a crucial role on the study of the history and development of the architecture from the Song Dynasty. The building Yuzhao Feiliang (ponds and bridges) is all unique and exquisite and is the only ancient complex in existence that has cruciform structures. So it’s rich in scientific, artistic and research values in China’s bridge history. Its Xian Palace built in the Jin Dynasty is simple but firm in structure. It serves as the main palace, while its shaped like a pavilion. Shengmu Palace and Yuzhao Feiliang are identified as the national treasures by the Ministry of Culture of the People’s Republic of China.

The 43 colored clay statues in Shengmu Palace are realistic art works representative of royal figures from the Song Dynasty. The delicate and lifelike clay statues are gems of China’s sculptural art treasure house and considered one of the greatest art works in the world’s sculptural history. These statues open a new era in China’s sculptural history and have epoch-making significance for the later development of clay statues. Among all the stone inscriptions, the Inscribed Motto and Preface of Jin Memorial Hall that was written by Emperor Taizong of the Tang Dynasty and the Huayan Scripture Stone Inscription by the hands of Empress Wu Zetian of the Tang Dynasty are the most precious. The stone inscription of the Inscribed Motto and Preface of Jin Memorial Hall was created in the 20th year during the reign of Emperor Taizong of the Tang Dynasty (646 AD). It is a running script masterpiece that involves history, literature, politics and calligraphy. It marks a beginning of running script stone inscriptions and serves as a precious stone that experts use to study fields such as politics, culture, literature and calligraphy of the late Tang Dynasty. The Huayan Scripture Stone Inscription inscribed in the second year reign of Empress Wu Zetian (699 AD) is rich in historical value in preserving and promoting the Buddhist founding doctrines and the translation of Buddhist classics.