Culture

Ancient relics uncovered in heart of former capital

Culture

Ancient relics uncovered in heart of former capital

A museum houses the Jinsha Ruins in Chengdu, featuring the images of unearthed gold foils on its roof. PROVIDED TO CHINA DAILY

Relics of the Fugan Temple, a historical site mentioned in ancient documents, were discovered in downtown Chengdu in June, unveiling the true color of the old Buddhist temple that was established during the Eastern Jin Dynasty (317-420).

The column bases, foundations, wells, roads and ditches found on the site were home to more than 1,000 engraving blocks of Buddhist sutras, more than 500 pieces of Buddhist stone statues as well as tablets decorated with curled-up dragons, tower bricks and glazed tiles with inscriptions.

“Based on one of the engraving printing blocks featuring part of the temple’s name, we believe that this relic site is the Fugan Temple,” said Yi Li, a researcher at Chengdu Cultural Relics and Archaeology Research Institute.

Existing from the time of the Eastern Jin Dynasty to the Tang Dynasty (618-907), Fugan was a Buddhist temple managed by renowned monks and frequented by locals.

During the late Tang Dynasty and Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period (907-960), the temple was ruined by wars, according to historical documents.

“The discovery of such a large-scale, precious cultural relic site as the Fugan Temple provides significant evidence for the study of Buddhist culture in the Tang Dynasty,” said Wang Yi, chief of the Chengdu Cultural Relics and Archaeology Research Institute.

The relics of ancient streets of the Tang and Song (960-1279) dynasties include pieces in the palaces and graveyards of kings of the Shu Kingdom, more than 2,000 years old, proving that the current Chengdu urban area was formed on the foundations of diverse origins of civilizations from the past thousands of years, according to Wang.

Chengdu used to be the capital of the ancient kingdom of Shu, spanning from the late Shang Dynasty (16th century-11th century BC) to the early Spring and Autumn Period (770-476 BC).

As a famous historical and cultural city of China, Chengdu has a 2,300-year history in urban development and has a splendid culture.

The local government has marked a total of 1,000 historical sites and more than 600 cultural remains including the ancient Shu cultural relics, industrial remains, the hometown of celebrities as well as ancient towns, streets and villages.

The city of Chengdu has made a plan for the protection and utilization of those historical legacies, focusing on restoring their original appearance.

The protection and utilization of natural and cultural heritage will also reinforce the action to pass down the Chengdu people’s stories and folk customs and retain the roots and memories of the local culture.

Apart from the protection work, the local government is also paving the way for innovating modern culture using elements of ancient cultures relating to the Shu Kingdom and the Three Kingdoms (220-280) periods.

In order to build Chengdu into a worldwide famous cultural city, a large number of cultural facilities are under construction.
Among the facilities, the Chengdu City Concert Hall, which involves an investment of 2.2 billion yuan ($322 million) and covers an area of about 7.5 acres, will become a landmark in

Chengdu and even in Sichuan province once completed.

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