The history of Mingtang & Tiantang in Luoyang City in Sui and Tang Dynasties

After the northern and Southern Dynasties, the national political center and the economic and cultural center were separated. In order to solve this problem, Sui Yangdi followed the trend of China’s economic and cultural center moving southward and took two main measures to adapt to this situation. One was to dig a grand canal to connect the political center Luoyang and Chang’an with the southern part of the Empire; the other was to order yuwenkai to plan and Yang Su to build Luoyang City. After the construction of emperor Yang of Sui Dynasty, Luoyang city is “extremely magnificent”. Later, Emperor Taizong and Emperor Gaozong of Tang often “ate” in Luoyang, which was named by Empress Wu in the dynasty (683-705 AD). In 684 ad, they changed the eastern capital into the God capital. Later, Emperor Xuanzong of Tang also lived in Luoyang for 9 years. Especially under the management of Empress Wu, Luoyang was not only the eastern and western capital of Tang Dynasty, but also the international metropolis at that time.

During the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period, the short-term political power, such as Houliang, houtang, and later Jin, Luoyang City of Sui and Tang Dynasties was also the political center at that time. The regime of the Northern Song Dynasty still set up the Henan government in Xijing on the basis of Luoyang City in Sui and Tang Dynasties. As a famous capital city in ancient China, Luoyang City in Sui and Tang Dynasties has rich cultural connotation. Its layout, architectural form and prosperity brought by the Grand Canal of Sui and Tang Dynasties are valuable materials for studying ancient Chinese capitals.

According to the characteristics of high terrain in the northwest of Luoyang, Emperor Yang of Sui built Luoyang City to build palace city and imperial city here. There are reasons for the sense of authority brought by capital protection and imperial city’s high presence. The imperial city is composed of Yaoyi city and Yuanbi city in the north of the palace city, the east city and hanjiacang city in the east of the palace city, and the office office in the south of the palace city. The palace city is roughly called a square. In the north, there are gardens such as jiuyuanchi. The South Gate of the palace city is Yingtianmen. Luoyang City in Sui and Tang Dynasties has no gate to the West. The whole city consists of 107 Li Fang. There are 29 Fang to the east of the imperial city on the North Bank of Luohe River and 78 Fang to the south bank. Lifang was the residential place of the residents at that time, most of which were 450 m × 450 m, and a few were 200 m × 450 M. Luoyang City of Sui and Tang Dynasties is located in the east city, the west city and the North City on the south bank for people to trade various goods.

According to the characteristics of high terrain in the northwest of Luoyang, Emperor Yang of Sui built Luoyang City to build palace city and imperial city here. There are reasons for the sense of authority brought by capital protection and imperial city’s high presence. The imperial city is composed of Yaoyi city and Yuanbi city in the north of the palace city, the east city and hanjiacang city in the east of the palace city, and the office office in the south of the palace city. The palace city is roughly called a square. In the north, there are gardens such as jiuyuanchi. The South Gate of the palace city is Yingtianmen. Luoyang City in Sui and Tang Dynasties has no gate to the West. The whole city consists of 107 Li Fang. There are 29 Fang to the east of the imperial city on the North Bank of Luohe River and 78 Fang to the south bank. Lifang was the residential place of the residents at that time, most of which were 450 m × 450 m, and a few were 200 m × 450 M. Luoyang City of Sui and Tang Dynasties is located in the east city, the west city and the North City on the south bank for people to trade various goods.

It is because of the great symbolic significance of Mingtang that all dynasties will make great efforts to build Mingtang. Before the spring and Autumn period and the Warring States period, Mingtang was a ceremonial and sacrificial building, where the emperor summoned the princes to issue decrees to sacrifice their ancestors. Later generations of the Western Han, Wang Mang, Eastern Han, Cao Wei, Western Jin, Eastern Jin and Southern Dynasties had Mingtang, and the Northern Song, Ming and Qing dynasties also had Mingtang. However, due to various reasons, Mingtang was not built in the early Sui and Tang Dynasties, while Wu Zetian took Mingtang as a symbol of regime change. She challenged the traditional form of etiquette, pushed out the public opinion and gave Mingtang a new spiritual image. Mingtang, who has a special historical mission of the times, has become the center of Wu Zetian’s political activities and psychological support since its establishment.

Mingtang was founded in the spring and February of the third year (687) of Chugong, and served tens of thousands of people. In the first month of the fourth year (688), it was completed. It is called the Vientiane temple. Seven years later, in the first month of the first year of Zhengsheng (695), Mingtang was burned. In the same year, Empress Wu ordered the reconstruction, which was completed in March of the first year of Tongtian (696), named Tongtian temple. Mingtang shows its symbolic function through its overall or partial gorgeous decoration. According to the historical records, Mingtang of Wu’s family “smoke and flames cover the sun, beams and columns drain the clouds”, “carving and engraving are as good as they can, and the poor and extravagant are extremely beautiful”, “the four seasons of the lower level method follow each other’s colors”, that is, the four halls facing four sides, namely, “Qingyang” in the East “,” Mingtang “in the south,” Zongzhang “in the west” and “Xuantang” in the north. The colors of the four halls on the bottom floor are green, red, white and black, which follow the four directions of the East, South, West and North, symbolizing the four seasons of spring, summer, autumn and winter. Secondly, “carved wood for tile, sandwiched with lacquer”, the roof is painted blue to look like the sky “. At the top of the conical roof, there are golden ornaments and nine iron dragons on the second floor. Mingtang’s interior decoration is also extremely luxurious, “decorated with pearl and jade, painted with blue”, the so-called “Xiyin xinqiongtai, xiaguiyao room, nothing to add.”

In terms of volume, Mingtang is the greatest building built in Tang Dynasty. Wu Zetian’s Mingtang is 294 feet high (86.4 meters) 162 meters, which is nearly 20 meters higher than the existing highest wooden structure Yingxian Wooden Tower. The scale and complexity of Mingtang and Tiantang are larger than all the palaces in the eastern and Western capitals of Tang Dynasty. Mingtang and Tiantang are the biggest wooden buildings built in Tang Dynasty, and they are famous large buildings in Tang Dynasty. It fully shows the height level of buildings in the heyday of Tang Dynasty. Such a huge high-rise building is extremely difficult in design and construction. Only from the completion of the project within 11 months, we can see that the design and construction capacity and level of the Tang Dynasty in the period of great national strength are close to or reach the highest level of the feudal society.

After Mingtang was built, Wu Zetian built Tiantang in the north to store the statue, which was named Tongtian futu. Tiantang site is located 155 meters northwest of Mingtang site and west of the palace axis area. According to the relevant literature, the height of Mingtang is about 90 meters. According to this calculation, the height of Tiantang should be at least 150 meters. According to the records in the imperial court, Xue Huaiyi once built a 900 foot tall Buddha statue in the north of Mingtang in the first year of Wuzhou Zhengsheng. The nose of the Buddha statue alone is like a ship carrying a thousand Dendrobium, which can accommodate ten people to ride together. The whole body is covered with awns and painted with color. At the same time, Xue Huaiyi also wants to build a thousand feet high merit hall around the Buddha to accommodate the Buddha. But at that time, Gongde hall had not been completed, only more than 70 feet had been built. According to the records in volume 4 of Henan annals of Yuan Dynasty, the relics of the city of Song Dynasty, Tiantang is located in Taiji hall, the main hall of Luoyang City in the Northern Song Dynasty, that is, Qianyuan hall in the Tang Dynasty, “where is the great cause of Sui Dynasty, and Tiantang in the Tang Dynasty”. It can be seen that Tiantang was rebuilt by demolishing Zhenguan hall in the old place of the great cause Hall of Sui Dynasty, that is, Zhenguan hall in the Tang Dynasty.

After Wu Zetian’s death, the regime returned to Li Tang, and the Confucian officials came out to criticize the position and specification of Wu’s Mingtang. Therefore, in the 24th year of Kaiyuan era (737), Emperor Xuanzong of Tang Dynasty ordered that the top three floors should be removed, and the hall should be changed back to Qianyuan hall. Therefore, from the reconstruction in 696 to the demolition in 737, Wushi Mingtang has existed for 41 years.

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