Foguang Monastery  佛光寺


  • Foguang Monastery (English)
  • Fóguāngsì (Pinyin)
  • Fo-kuang-ssu (Wade-Giles)
  • 佛光寺 (Traditional Chinese)
  • 佛光寺 (Simplified Chinese)


山西省五台县 Shanxi
  • China
  • Province:
    • Shanxi (Pinyin)
    • 山西省 (Traditional Chinese)
    • 山西省 (Simplified Chinese)
  • County-city:
    • Wutai (Pinyin)
    • 五台 (Simplified Chinese)
  • Political-subdivision:
    • (Simplified Chinese)
    • County (English)
  • Coordinates:
    • Lat. 38.8695° Long. 113.387333°
  • Building Information

    Foguangsi is a Buddhist monastery located in Doucun, northern Shanxi Province. First established during the Northern Wei dynasty, the monastery lies in a remote pocket on the outskirts of the south range of the Wutai Mountains. Extant timber buildings are from the late Tang dynasty reconstruction and after. It was rediscovered in June 1937 by an investigation team led by architectural historian Liang Sicheng (1901-1972). The earliest structures located in the monastery are the Great East Hall (857), a brick pagoda on the building’s south side (ca. 6th century), and the Manjusri Hall (1137). There are also two stone dharani pillars, one in front of the East Great Hall (857), and another in the courtyard in front of the Manjusri Hall (877). 1

    No buildings from the Northern Wei dynasty are extant at the Foguangsi Monastery site, but research on the site has shown it was established during that time. It is believed that the original buildings of the monastery (including a three-story pavilion dedicated to the bodhisattva Maitreya) were destroyed during the “Huichang Persecution” in 845 when Emperor Wuzong (r. 840-46) ordered the suppression of Buddhism. 1

    Dynasty Tang 618 - 907 2

    External Links

    Works Cited

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

    • 1 国家文物局. 2006. 中国文物地图集. 山西分册, II:579-580;41-C2.Link to Zotero Bibliographic Record; STEINHARDT. 2019. Chinese architecture: a historyLink to Zotero Bibliographic Record
    • 2 WILKINSON. 2000. Chinese History: A Manual, 12.Link to Zotero Bibliographic Record

    Contains artifact(s) (2)

    Date range

    How to Cite This Entry

    Tracy Miller, “Foguang Monastery 佛光寺 ” in Architectura Sinica last modified May 26, 2022,


    Tracy Miller, “Foguang Monastery 佛光寺 .” In Architectura Sinica, edited by Tracy Miller. Entry published March 21, 2018.

    About this Entry

    Entry Title: Foguang Monastery 佛光寺

    Authorial and Editorial Responsibility:

    • Tracy Miller, editor, Architectura Sinica
    • Tracy Miller, entry contributor, “Foguang Monastery 佛光寺

    Additional Credit:

    • Editing, proofreading, data entry and revision by Tracy Miller
    • Adding external links Melanie Lu
    • Data entry Kymbria Thomas

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