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Xuanzhong Monastery

The original site of Yongle Palace was in the town of Yongle southwest of Ruicheng County on the banks of the Yellow River (Haunghe). When construction of the Sanmen Gorge Reservoir was begun in 1958, the town of Yongle was within the area to be inundated. The government organized experts and workers to move the palace to its present site at Longquan Village north of Ruicheng city in the southwestern part of Shanxi Province. The work of moving the palace was completed in seven years, and it was reconstructed completely according to the original design. Priceless murals of the Yuan Dynasty were thus preserved.

The palace, a Taoist temple, was first built in the fourteenth century. Its main buildings are Dragon and Tiger Hall (Longhudian), Taoist Trinity Hall (Sanqingdian), Pure Sun Hall (Zhongyangdian), and Double Sun Hall (Chongyangdian). On display at Trinity Hall are Yuan Dynasty murals with more than three hundred lively, brightly painted figures. The murals in Pure Sun and Double Sun halls are picture stories about Taoism, rich in fairy tales and full of life. The number of murals in Yongle Palace is second only to Dunhuang in China’s northwestern province of Gansu. Rich in content, superb in execution, the murals are not only artistic treasures, but also valuable resource materials for the study of the history of Taoism and Yuan society.

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