Longmen Monastery  龍門寺



  • Longmen Monastery (English)
  • Lóngménsì (Pinyin)
  • Lung-men-ssu (Wade-Giles)
  • 龍門寺 (Traditional Chinese)
  • 龙门寺 (Simplified Chinese)
  • Fahua Monastery (English)
  • 法華寺 (Traditional Chinese)
  • 法华寺 (Simplified Chinese)


山西省平顺县 Shanxi
  • China
  • Province:
    • Shanxi (Pinyin)
    • 山西省 (Traditional Chinese)
    • 山西省 (Simplified Chinese)
  • County-city:
    • Pingshun (Pinyin)
    • 平顺 (Simplified Chinese)
  • Political-subdivision:
    • (Simplified Chinese)
    • County (English)
  • Coordinates:
    • Lat. 36.3896666° Long. 113.622666°
  • Site Information

    Longmen monastery, originally known as Fahua monastery (法華寺), is located north of Longmen Monastery Village, Shichengzhen, and is a major historical and cultural site protected at the national level. One significance of Longmen monastery is its long history: it has spanned six dynasties: the Five Dynasties, Later Tang, Song, Jin, Yuan, Ming, and Qing. According to a stele inscription, it was first constructed in the second year of the Eastern Wei Wuding reign period (544 CE), and was imperially patronized by the Northern Qi emperor Gao Yang (r. 550-559 CE). It experienced large-scale expansions in both the Later Tang and Northern Song dynasties. The scale of the monastery reached its peak in the first year of Jianlong reign period (960), having “halls and residential cells in excess of one hundred bays" (diantang liaoshe shu ying baijian “殿堂寮舍数盈百间”) (Guojia wenwuju 2006, 304; Miller 2011, 179). During the Taiping Xingguo reign period of the Northern Song Dynasty (977-984), the monastery was granted an official name plaque “Longmenshan huiriyuan” (龍門山惠日院) by Zhao Kuangyi (Miller 2011, 179). The monastery continued to receive patronage and underwent several renovations in the following dynasties (Jin, Yuan, Ming, and Qing): more ritual halls were added in the Jin and Yuan, and more subsidiary structures were added in Ming and Qing (Miller 2011, 179). The monastery covers an area of 5,070 square meters. It sits north and faces south, adopting a three-axis layout (east, middle, and west). Each axis is composed of three halls with two enclosed courtyards, dividing the complex into the front courtyard, middle courtyard, and back courtyard, which are set into a hillside. Along the winding pathway leading to the central axis are the foundations of two earlier buildings, reputedly a former Vajra-warrior Hall (Jingangdian 金剛殿) and Mountain Gate (Shanmen 山門). Today the central axis buildings include the Celestial Kings Hall (Tianwangdian 天王殿), Mahavira Treasure Hall (Daxiong baodian 大雄寶殿), and a Dipankara Buddha Hall (Randengfo dian 燃燈佛殿). A Thousand Buddha Pavilion (Qianfoge 千佛閣, destroyed) was at the north end. These buildings are framed by east and west corridors, east and west side halls, and an east side bell tower. The east axis buildings originally contained a five-bay Sagacious Monk Hall (Shengsengtang 聖僧堂), a seven-bay Water and Land Hall (Shuiludian 水陸殿), and ancillary buildings such as meditation halls, monks’ cells, and stables. On the west axis, there are more ancillary buildings such as monks’ cells and warehouses. There are also funeral pagodas (muta 墓塔) of monks from the Song, Yuan, Ming, and Qing dynasties remaining in the west gully (xigou 西沟) of the monastery. The monastery preserves one dharani sutra pillar from the third year of Qianzheng reign period (950), nine Ming steles, thirteen Qing steles, and 34.10 square meters of heavily colored frescoes (Guojia wenwuju 2006, 304). 1

    Dynasty Founded in the Eastern Wei 534-550 2

    Works Cited

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

    • 1 国家文物局. 2006. 中国文物地图集. 山西分册, II:304-305;32-C3.Link to Zotero Bibliographic Record; MILLER. 2011. Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed: Local Style in the Architecture of Tenth Century China, 179-184.Link to Zotero Bibliographic Record; STEINHARDT. 2019. Chinese architecture: a historyLink to Zotero Bibliographic Record; 宋. 2010. 平顺龙门寺历史沿革考, 52-57.Link to Zotero Bibliographic Record
    • 2 WILKINSON. 2000. Chinese History: A Manual, 12.Link to Zotero Bibliographic Record

    Contains artifact(s) (3)

    Date range

    How to Cite This Entry

    CHEN Zhuo 陈卓 et al., “Longmen Monastery 龍門寺 ” in Architectura Sinica last modified December 14, 2021, https://architecturasinica.org/place/000063.


    CHEN Zhuo 陈卓 et al., “Longmen Monastery 龍門寺 .” In Architectura Sinica, edited by Tracy Miller. Entry published March 21, 2018. https://architecturasinica.org/place/000063.

    About this Entry

    Entry Title: Longmen Monastery 龍門寺

    Authorial and Editorial Responsibility:

    • Tracy Miller, editor, Architectura Sinica
    • CHEN Zhuo 陈卓 and Tracy Miller, entry contributors, “Longmen Monastery 龍門寺

    Additional Credit:

    • proofreading and revision by Tracy Miller
    • adding external links Song Qisen
    • Site research data entry, adding images, and adding citations CHEN Zhuo 陈卓

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