China’s pioneer architects Liang Sicheng and Lin Huiyin discovered Shanxi Foguang temple in 1937, the year when Sino-Japanese war erupted. Thus, the current year, 2017, marks the 80th anniversary of the discovery. Liang and Lin followed the Les grottes de Touen-houang (written by French Sinologist Paul Pelliot), on the 61 caves of the Tang Dynasty’s frescoes, featuring the panoramic view of the whole Mount Wutai. Not only did they see many temples, among which was Foguang Temple, under each temple, there was also a name plate. On June 20, they went to Mount Wutai in Shanxi Province with the staff of the China Society of Architecture and discovered Foguang Temple. A few days later, Lin Huiyin climbed onto the beam and found the calendar year “857 A.D.” inscripted on it. This is the earliest record of China’s first wooden architecture, which was constructed 1160 years.
In the summer of year 2011, Ding Yao, a teacher from Tianjin University, led the students to Foguang Temple and observed the unique rafters’ head of the hall and discovered the style “Seven red eight white” on the architrave. “Seven red eight white” was the main characteristics of painting, as highlighted in Song Dynasty’s masterpiece “Yingzao Fashi” building manual (Technical treatise on architecture and craftsmanship). In the few years that followed, Ding Yao started to explore the paintings in the main hall of the Foguang Temple in detail, with the help of Shanxi Gujianzhu Protect Institute. In the Spring of 2012, Ding Yao found some text on the northern side of the eaves beam, and recognised four words “Da Wei Jin Guo”. In 2014, another four words were identified as “Tiande san nian”, which was determined as the year 1151. At the same time, from the red earth that came off, there were also ink traces with words like “seng” (monk) and “chief monk” in many of them.
The title of this Lien Fung’s Colloquium is “Rediscovery Foguang Temple”. Mr. Liang Jian who will be speaking on the relationship between his grandparents Liang Sicheng, Lin Huiyin and “Yingzao Fashi”. His topic will be on “The discovery of Foguang temple and China Society of Architecture”.
Mr. Ding Yao will speak on Foguang templeemple, his topic will be “Effulgent: Foguang Temple and Buddhist Architecture in Medieval China”.
We have also invited Professor Yeo Kang Shua who specialises in ancient Singapore architecture to be the moderator for this event.
今年2017，是中国先驱建筑家梁思成和林徽因发现山西佛光寺80年，也就是1937 年－民国26年，中日战争爆发的那年。梁林二人根据法国汉学家伯希和（Paul Pelliot） 所著的《敦煌石窟图录》（Les grottes de Touen-houang） 第61 窟的唐代壁画的五台山全景，见到不但有寺庙，并在每座寺庙下注有名称，佛光寺也是其一。他们于6月20日与中国营造学社的人员一同到山西五台山，找到佛光寺。几天后林徽因爬到梁柱上发现纪年“唐宣宗大中十一年（857）”，是有题记的中国最早木造建筑，离今1160年。