Architectura Sinica

Longshan Monastery, main hall  龍山寺正殿


  • main hall (English)
  • 正殿 (Traditional Chinese)
  • 正殿 (Simplified Chinese)
  • zhèngdiàn (Pinyin)
  • cheng-tien (Wade-Giles)
  • Longshan Monastery main hall (English)
  • 龍山寺正殿 (Traditional Chinese)
  • 龙山寺正殿 (Simplified Chinese)


  • Coordinates:
    • Lat. 25.03722222° Long. 121.50000000°
  • Building Information

    The main hall of Longshan Monastery is dedicated to Princess Miaoshan in her manifestation as Guanyin. It is five bays across the front façade, with a double-eaves hip-gable roof. It is elevated on a stone-faced platform, and with a one-bay wide terrace extending out in front of the central bay.1

    Glen Dudbridge and Yü Chün-fang have traced the Miaoshan legend to the “Dabei pusa zhuan” composed by Northern Song academician, Jiang Zhiqi’s (蔣之奇1031-1104), with calligraphy by Cai Jing 蔡京 (d. 1126). The text was inscribed on the ‘Miaoshan’ stone stele in 1100. The re-engraved stone stele, dated 1308, still stands in a crypt below the pagoda of the Xiangshan Monastery in Baofeng County, Henan, China. It measures 222 cm in height and 146 cm in width. The top is broken off unevenly, leaving varying amounts of text missing.2

    According to the legend, Miaoshan was the third daughter of King Zhuang of Chu (楚荘王, 613-591 BCE). From a young age, she was naturally drawn to Buddhism. When she came of age, she refused to marry, unlike her two elder sisters. Angered by this, her father subjected Miaoshan to hard labor. When she finally finished her tasks, she was allowed to practice Buddhism at a nunnery. Her success in the nunnery further angered her father, who ultimately burned the nunnery down, killing five hundred nuns. He then executed Miaoshan for her unfilial behavior. Although her body was guarded by a mountain spirit on earth, as a spirit, Miaoshan helped souls in hell and meditated for nine years on earth, achieving enlightenment. By this time, the king had fallen seriously ill. The only remedy was a medicine concocted with the eyes and hands of someone who had never felt anger. Thus, Miaoshan willingly offered her eyes and hands. The father miraculously recovered and discovered that his savior was his own daughter. Overwhelmed with remorse, the entire royal family converted to Buddhism. Miaoshan transformed into her true form: the Thousand-eyed and Thousand-armed Guanyin.3

    Dynasty Founded in the Qing Dynasty 4

    Works Cited

    Any information without attribution has been created following the editorial guidelines.

    • 1 YU. 2001. Kuan-yin: The Chinese Transformation of Avalokitesvara, 293-301.Link to Zotero Bibliographic Record
    • 2 COOK. 1999. Defining Chu: Image and Reality in Ancient ChinaLink to Zotero Bibliographic Record;
    • 3 YU. 2001. Kuan-yin: The Chinese Transformation of Avalokitesvara, 293-301.Link to Zotero Bibliographic Record
    • 4 WILKINSON. 2000. Chinese History: A Manual, 12.Link to Zotero Bibliographic Record

    Contained in Place

    How to Cite This Entry

    Waka Ogihara, “Longshan Monastery, main hall 龍山寺正殿 ” in Architectura Sinica last modified November 13, 2020,


    Waka Ogihara, “Longshan Monastery, main hall 龍山寺正殿 .” In Architectura Sinica, edited by Tracy Miller. Entry published 2020-11-20-15:00.

    About this Entry

    Entry Title: Longshan Monastery, main hall 龍山寺正殿

    Authorial and Editorial Responsibility:

    • Tracy Miller, editor, Architectura Sinica
    • Waka Ogihara, entry contributor, “Longshan Monastery, main hall 龍山寺正殿

    Additional Credit:

    • Initial research 2020 by Waka Ogihara
    • Editing and proof correction by Tracy Miller

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