Dule Monastery  獨樂寺



  • Dule Monastery (English)
  • Dúlèsì (Pinyin)
  • Tu-le-ssu (Wade-Giles)
  • 獨樂寺 (Traditional Chinese)
  • 独乐寺 (Simplified Chinese)


  • China
  • County-city:
    • Tianjin Municipality (English)
    • 天津市 (Traditional Chinese)
    • Tiānjīn shì (Pinyin)
  • Political-subdivision:
    • Ji County (English)
    • 薊縣 (Traditional Chinese)
    • Jìxiàn (Pinyin)
  • Coordinates:
    • Lat. 40.043815° Long. 117.396682°
  • Site Information

    Located in Ji county 薊縣, Tianjin Municipality 天津市, Dule Monastery (Dulesi 獨樂寺) is the earliest extant Liao Buddhist monastery. Dule Monastery consists of two courtyards, one with the Mountain Gate (Shanmen 山門) and the Guanyin Pavilion (Guanyin ge 觀音閣), and the other, Bao’en Cloister (Bao’en yuan 報恩院), with the Mahavira Treasure Hall (Daxiong baodian 大雄寶殿).

    The monastery has a long history and may have had significance to the Liao royal family. According to Chen Mingda’s research using the Qinding Panshanzhi 欽定盤山志, Dule Monastery was first constructed on Mount Pan in the nineteenth year of the Northern Wei Taihe reign period (495). In the eighteenth year of the Tang Kaiyuan period (730), Ji Prefecture was changed to Ji County and the monastery was named after it. In 922, Khitan troops invaded Ji County and, in the eleventh year of the Tianxian reign period (936), Abaoji (Liao Taizu) worshipped Guanyin as a family deity (Chen 2007, 197-98; date unconfirmed; elevation to "family deity" 家神 found in Liaoshi 49.835; Liaoshi 37.445-446). Today, the Mountain Gate and the Guanyin Pavilion remain the original structures rebuilt during the second year of the Liao Tonghe reign period (984), and the rest of the buildings in the Monastery were rebuilt during the Ming and Qing dynasty (Chen 2007, 197-98, Liang 1932).1

    Since the construction, Dule Monastery has experienced multiple earthquakes. We have documentation of the dates of seven of them: (1) the third year of the Liao Qingning reign period (1057), (2) the fifth year of the Yuan Zhizheng reign period (1345), (3) the sixteenth year of the Yuan Zhizheng reign period (1356), (4) the seventeenth year of the Ming Chenghua reign period (1481), (5) the fourth year of the Ming Tianqi reign period (1624), (6) the eighteenth year of the Qing Kangxi reign period (1679), and (7) the 1976 Tangshan earthquake (Chen 2007, 198-201).2

    Modern architectural surveys, first by Sekino Tadashi in 1931 and then by Liang Sicheng in 1932, brought the monastery to the attention of the public and architectural historians across the globe (Ding 2013, 3). In March 1990, the National Administration of Cultural Heritage established the Dulesi maintenance project. The restoration of the Mountain Gate and Guanyin Pavilion was completed when the eight-year Dulesi maintenance project ended in 1998 (Chen 2007, 201).3

    Dynasty Liao 916 - 1125 4

    External Links

    Works Cited

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

    • 1 陈. 2007. 蓟县独乐寺, 197-198.Link to Zotero Bibliographic Record; 梁. 1932. 薊縣獨樂寺觀音閣山門考Link to Zotero Bibliographic Record
    • 2 陈. 2007. 蓟县独乐寺, 198-201.Link to Zotero Bibliographic Record
    • 3 丁. 2013. 发现独乐寺, 3.Link to Zotero Bibliographic Record; 陈. 2007. 蓟县独乐寺, 201.Link to Zotero Bibliographic Record
    • 4 WILKINSON. 2000. Chinese History: A Manual, 12.Link to Zotero Bibliographic Record

    Contains artifact(s) (4)

    Date range

    How to Cite This Entry

    HUANG Danni 黄聃婗, “Dule Monastery 獨樂寺 ” in Architectura Sinica last modified December 17, 2023, https://architecturasinica.org/place/000024.


    HUANG Danni 黄聃婗, “Dule Monastery 獨樂寺 .” In Architectura Sinica, edited by . Entry published March 21, 2018. https://architecturasinica.org/place/000024.

    About this Entry

    Entry Title: Dule Monastery 獨樂寺

    Authorial and Editorial Responsibility:

    • HUANG Danni 黄聃婗, entry contributor, “Dule Monastery 獨樂寺

    Additional Credit:

    • Data entry, adding notes, links and citations 2021 by HUANG Danni 黄聃婗
    • Editing and proof correction Tracy Miller
    • Website coordination by Yuh-Fen Benda
    • adding external links 2020 by Melanie Lu

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