Culture

What happened to the "black technology" found in the hanging temple in Shanxi, expansion screws have existed for a thousand years?

The five mountains carry the pride and joy of the Chinese nation. In Datong City, Shanxi Province, stands the Northern Mount Everest.

In the west side of the Golden Dragon Gorge, between the thousand-foot wall of Cuiping Peak, there is a veritable first scenery of Mount Heng, which is an ancient temple standing for a thousand years - Hanging Temple.

The Hanging Temple is one of the second batch of national key protected cultural relics in China. It is not only famous in China, but in 2010, Hanging Temple was selected as one of Time Magazine's "Top 10 Unstable Buildings in the World" for its breathtaking appearance and ingenious design, which has received worldwide attention.

The fact that the Hanging Temple remains solid in spite of the extreme geography makes people feel both wondrous and mysterious.

And when people went into this thousand-year-old temple, the study of its architectural structure, accidentally discovered the secret behind the hanging temple "black technology" - expansion screws.

What happened to the "black technology" found in the hanging temple in Shanxi, expansion screws have existed for a thousand years?

What exactly is the magic of the Hanging Temple? What is the ancient expansion screw and how did it support the Hanging Temple for a thousand years?

I. Thousands of years old temple, three religions in one

"The mountain stands in the Jin region with its majestic and magnificent posture, guarding the land of China.

The Shang Shu records that when Qin Shi Huang was on his eastern tour, he praised the long stretches of Mount Heng with the magnificent words "Taihang and Mount Heng, up to Jieshi and into the sea".

The eighteen scenic spots in Mount Everest have their own characteristics and are all wonderful. Among them, the Golden Dragon Gorge, with its deep valleys and towering cliffs, is a major choke point, adding to the danger of the terrain. The Jade Screen Peak is located in the west of the Golden Dragon Gorge, and is named after the ten peaks that are connected to each other, resembling an emerald green barrier.

What happened to the "black technology" found in the hanging temple in Shanxi, expansion screws have existed for a thousand years?

In Jin Yong's famous novel "Laughing Proud of Jianghu", the main character, Ling Hu Chong, visits Mount Heng with his two kung-fu masters, Zen Master Fang Zhi and Taoist Master Chong Xu, and comes to the bottom of Cuiping Peak.

"Look up and see the two flying pavilions, towering on top of the peak, like a fairy pavilion, now in the clouds." This pavilion is the famous Hanging Temple at home and abroad.

The Hanging Temple, also known as Xuankong Temple, was built at the end of the Northern Wei Dynasty, more than 1,500 years ago. It is an extremely rare "three religions in one" building in China, and this cultural connotation is unparalleled in the entire history of architecture.

In a small area of more than 150 square meters and 40 halls, it covers three types of architecture: Confucianism, Buddhism and Taoism, forming the main layout of "one courtyard and two buildings".

What happened to the "black technology" found in the hanging temple in Shanxi, expansion screws have existed for a thousand years?

Among them, the South Building is dominated by Taoist buildings, including the Chunyang Palace and the Hall of the Three Officials, among which the Chunyang Palace is dedicated to Lu Dongbin, one of the Eight Immortals.

The Hall of the Three Officials is the largest building in the entire Hanging Temple complex and is dedicated to the Heavenly Official, Earthly Official and Water Official.

The "Xuan" of the Hanging Temple, also known as Xuankong Temple, comes from the Taoist concept of "the mystery of the mystery, the door of all wonders".

The North Building is dominated by Buddhist buildings, including the Hall of the Five Buddhas and the Hall of the Goddess of Mercy.

The Hall of Five Buddhas is named because it is dedicated to the five Buddhas, while the Hall of Goddess of Mercy is dedicated to the Goddess of Mercy. In the temple, there are also numerous statues of Buddha, large and small, which are skillfully built and lifelike.

The Hall of Three Teachings is arguably the most representative building in the Hanging Temple. It is not only the highest point of the whole complex, but also dedicated to Shakyamuni, Laozi and Confucius, the founders of Buddhism, Taoism and Confucianism at the same time.

What happened to the "black technology" found in the hanging temple in Shanxi, expansion screws have existed for a thousand years?

The vivid image conveys the spiritual concept of the unity of the three religions of the Hanging Temple, which makes the Hanging Temple stand out among the many temples left behind in ancient China.

According to legend, in 398 A.D., when the capital of the Northern Wei Dynasty was established in today's Datong City, the Heavenly Master Taoist Kou Qianzhi left a legacy before his death, calling for the construction of an airy monastery to achieve the realm of "extending the sky above the guest, and the lower part of the hustle and bustle" to provide a place for the world's beings to practice.

Another legend points out the reason why the Hanging Temple is hanging in mid-air. According to the legend, after the establishment of the capital of Northern Wei, the Northern Wei emperor wanted to preach religious ideas and integrate the beliefs of the people by building a unique temple.

He believes that temples can only be built in mid-air to show the devotion of faith and the possibility of talking to the gods and goddesses who are flying in the clouds.

What happened to the "black technology" found in the hanging temple in Shanxi, expansion screws have existed for a thousand years?

Regardless of which legend is true, these stories reflect the unique historical context in which the Hanging Temple was built.

During the Northern and Southern Dynasties, Buddhism was introduced to China and attracted a large number of followers. Long before Buddhism was introduced, Confucianism and Taoism, which originated in China, also had a deep-rooted foundation and occupied an important place in people's thinking.

During the Northern and Southern Dynasties, the open and tolerant culture of thought and culture allowed these religions to develop.

Although the three faiths have very different connotations, they have managed to coexist harmoniously and peacefully in an open environment, and have been visually presented through an architectural entity like the Hanging Temple.

Over the centuries, countless religious buildings have been destroyed by soldiers and warriors. Although the Hanging Temple is located on a major geographical road, it has been carefully repaired and maintained in all dynasties because it embodies the spirit of eclecticism, and has survived for thousands of years as an architectural miracle.

What happened to the "black technology" found in the hanging temple in Shanxi, expansion screws have existed for a thousand years?

Second, ingenuity, creating architectural myths

From ancient times to the present, countless visitors have left words of awe after witnessing the beauty of the Hanging Temple.

The poet Li Bai once inscribed the word "Magnificent" on the huge rock below the temple.

The Ming Dynasty traveler Xu Xiake also praised this temple as "the world's greatest sight".

Approaching the Hanging Temple with a sense of awe for the ancients, this unusual temple seems to be skillfully set in the midst of a cliff like a relief.

What happened to the "black technology" found in the hanging temple in Shanxi, expansion screws have existed for a thousand years?

The entire temple building is a wooden frame structure, which exquisitely combines the cross-beam structure with the mountainous terrain.

Because it is built on a steep cliff, the scale of Hanging Temple is not very large, the whole temple is only 152.5 square meters.

But in such a limited space, there are 40 houses, including the temple, meditation room, Buddha Hall, Taiyi Temple, Guandi Temple, Guanyin Temple, Chunyang Palace and so on, which can be described as "small but complete".

What happened to the "black technology" found in the hanging temple in Shanxi, expansion screws have existed for a thousand years?

The beauty of the Hanging Temple lies in the word "hanging". "Hanging temple, half a day high, three ponytail hanging in the air", can be seen hanging temple appearance is how dangerous, design and how clever.

The entire temple, with its 40 halls and pavilions, does not sit firmly on the ground like a conventional building. The base of these buildings is connected to the rock wall by a dozen bowl-thick wooden pillars, which makes them backed by the cliff and suspended in mid-air.

Whenever the mountain is cloudy, the wooden pillars are hidden from sight, and the hanging temple seems to be a building growing out of thin air on the cliff, adding a few more mysterious colors.

What happened to the "black technology" found in the hanging temple in Shanxi, expansion screws have existed for a thousand years?

Among the 40 halls, the most famous one is the Hall of Three Religions. It is located at the uppermost level of the third part of the Hanging Temple, which is the highest elevation in the temple.

At the beginning of its construction, the Temple of the Three Religions was 90 meters above the ground, and the surface of the ground has been raised under the siltation of the river for thousands of years, and the Temple of the Three Religions is now 58 meters above the ground, which is as high as a twenty-story building.

From the beginning of the temple to the present, thousands of years of change in the vicissitudes of the sea, various dynasties and generations of countless pavilions and pavilions have long been in the wind and rain in the decay and collapse, reduced to historical relics.

The most fragile and dangerous-looking Hanging Temple has withstood thousands of years of wind, rain and snow, and has always stood firm in the middle of Mount Heng.

The existence of the Hanging Temple can be considered a miracle in the history of architecture. It is a miracle in the history of architecture to be able to maintain the amazing height of the cliff, and also to maintain the stability for thousands of years.

What happened to the "black technology" found in the hanging temple in Shanxi, expansion screws have existed for a thousand years?

So what kind of ancient "black technology" allows this temple to keep alive for a thousand years with such an intimidating appearance?

Third, the repair of the time, the surprise of expansion screws

The Hanging Temple has been preserved to this day not only because it has a magical architectural structure, but also because of the inspection and maintenance by craftsmen throughout the generations.

After the founding of the country, the Hanging Temple was selected as a historical relic in the second batch of national key protected cultural relics and also a key protected cultural relic in Shanxi Province. Thousands of tourists come to Hanging Temple every year to explore what it is all about, and its high visibility has made it receive high attention from the state.

The whole of the Hanging Temple is a wooden structure, and wooden materials are the least resistant to weathering and insects, and require regular inspection and maintenance.

What happened to the "black technology" found in the hanging temple in Shanxi, expansion screws have existed for a thousand years?

In the 1990s, Shanxi Province organized construction experts to overhaul the Hanging Temple in an attempt to identify safety hazards and avoid excursion accidents.

Experts climbed through the entire temple building, and during the inspection, they found that some of the transverse files in the corridor on the west side of the Hanging Temple had become a safety hazard.

These transverse gear in the wind and rain has been deformed, and even the emergence of insect damage corrosion marks, if not replaced in time, I am afraid there will be a risk of fracture.

After some discussion, the maintenance staff decided to replace the whole of these transoms with new ones and began the removal work.

What happened to the "black technology" found in the hanging temple in Shanxi, expansion screws have existed for a thousand years?

However, what everyone did not anticipate was that the removal of a few boards was incredibly difficult. According to experience, these boards only need a few people together with force can be drawn out. But several staff members spent nine tigers, the board still does not move.

Experts are puzzled, in the cross-file surface, they are very ordinary wooden boards, can not see any clues.

At this point, cracks had faintly appeared on the main body of the transverse gear, and the replacement work could no longer be delayed. Since manpower could not be shaken, the experts got a long saw and tried to saw the crosspiece open.

The wooden cross file naturally loses to the hacksaw. After the transom was sawed off, the experts were surprised to find that the beams were still firmly set into the transom and the entire structure could not be split apart at all. This made the demolition work another huge obstacle.

What happened to the "black technology" found in the hanging temple in Shanxi, expansion screws have existed for a thousand years?

The experts looked closely at the place where the beams were embedded, and even chiseled some wood blocks shallowly at the embedment for study. They saw that the access to the crossbeam was covered with artificial chamfering, as well as traces of axe chopping, and the gaps were filled with wooden wedges.

"This is the expansion screw!"

After an expert involuntarily shouted out this professional term, it immediately dawned on everyone that this is the principle of expansion screws ah!

Expansion screws are a widely used technique in modern construction. It consists of parts such as the sea-shell-seeking screw and the expansion tube. When the nut is tightened, the screw moves the conical part through the axial movement of the thread, which in turn forms a large positive pressure on the outer circumference of the expansion tube, thus forming a frictional self-locking between the wall, the expansion tube and the screw, and thus achieving a fixed effect.

What happened to the "black technology" found in the hanging temple in Shanxi, expansion screws have existed for a thousand years?

Simply put, the principle of expansion screws is the use of wedge-shaped slope to generate maximum friction, so that the effect of fixing increasing, making the building joints more solid and reliable.

In modern construction, the commonly used expansion screws are made of metal. Although the material of the expansion screws of the Hanging Temple is different, the principle of the building structure used is exactly the same as that of modern times, and has the same effect of stabilizing the building structure.

Expansion screws make full use of the structural combination of the group pieces in use, and this method of implementing the splicing of building materials is what was widely used in the mortise and tenon structure in ancient China. It can be said that the expansion screw is a well-deserved invention of our ancestors.

What happened to the "black technology" found in the hanging temple in Shanxi, expansion screws have existed for a thousand years?

It can be imagined that more than a thousand years ago, the ancient people faced with the special geographical environment of the Hanging Temple and came up with this method of expanding the screws by whimsy. They found no support points on the cliff, so they used wedges to prop up the beam when placing it, so that the inverted teeth of the beam and the cavern are stuck together tightly, and the deeper the wedge, the tighter the beam is stuck.

In this way, the beam is tightly embedded in the stone wall, even if the exterior is eroded by the weather or even hacksawed, it does not affect its internal stability in any way.

What happened to the "black technology" found in the hanging temple in Shanxi, expansion screws have existed for a thousand years?

This kind of construction techniques in today's view commonplace, but for the ancient people a thousand years ago, it is the same as "black technology" as magical existence. It is also the widespread use of this "black technology" that makes the wooden frames of the Hanging Temple join each other steadily, so that the whole temple can withstand the natural erosion and always remain stable and solid.

In addition to the expansion screws, the most typical "black technology", experts have also found other prototypes of modern construction techniques in the Hanging Temple.

What happened to the "black technology" found in the hanging temple in Shanxi, expansion screws have existed for a thousand years?

The extensive mortise and tenon construction of the timber joints of the Hanging Temple not only saves costs, but also improves the stability of the building.

In addition, in order to reduce the pressure of the flying beam as a support, the statues are all made of light-weight stripped yarn Buddha, rather than made of stone.

The discovery of numerous architectural "black technologies" took the experts, who had come to carry out maintenance work, completely by surprise. It was as if they had found the door to a treasure trove of ancient building techniques, and had not only glimpsed the amazing skills of ancient skilled craftsmen, but had also gained important material for studying ancient building techniques.

The Hanging Temple is no longer just "hanging", but has become a model of ancient Chinese architecture.

What happened to the "black technology" found in the hanging temple in Shanxi, expansion screws have existed for a thousand years?

Concluding remarks

The discovery of this architectural "black technology" has made the architectural value of the Hanging Temple prominent.

The "black technology" fully reflects the wisdom and ingenuity of the ancients who cleverly used the natural terrain to construct buildings and use their brains to solve objective difficulties. The Hanging Temple is not only a tourist attraction, but also a treasure house of architecture that is attracting domestic and international attention.

In addition to the magnificent appearance and exquisite architectural skills, the cultural treasures left behind by the Hanging Temple are worth cherishing.

What happened to the "black technology" found in the hanging temple in Shanxi, expansion screws have existed for a thousand years?

Thousands of years ago, this temple presented the architectural tenets of the three religions side by side, representing the cultural concept of pluralism and tolerance and reflecting the open mind of the ancient people who embraced both.

Visiting the Hanging Temple, let us pay tribute to the ancient people with "black technology", and look at the valuable architectural treasures and cultural attractions in China.

References

China Knowledge: "Shanxi Hanging Temple