Baiyun guan: the Development and Evolution of a Quanzhen Daoist Temple
University of Kansas
History of Art
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This dissertation addresses the development and evolution of the Daoist temple Baiyun guan in Beijing, China. Based on textual sources combined with the analysis of architectural and sculptural features, this study provides the comprehensive history of the temple focusing on its growth, change, and its religious identity. A detailed study of the temple reveals the plans and intentions of the patrons evident in the change of its architecture, nomenclature, and enshrined images, which demonstrates shifting patterns of the temple pantheon. This study also interprets the meaning and function of its images with primary emphasis on those of Quanzhen Daoists. The contextual analysis of images highlights persisting religious sectarianism involving Quanzhen Daoism in Baiyun guan despite ongoing changes in the temple's patrons and in the iconographic program at the site. This dissertation provides an exemplary case study demonstrating the dual nature of the site: the enduring presence of religious sectarianism contrasted with constant transformation of the temple. Baiyun guan, still an active center of Quanzhen worship in the present day, continues to respond to shifting trends in Daoist practice in order to incorporate needs of contemporary worshippers while also ensuring the temple's popularity and existence. The history of Baiyun guan, then, reveals a dynamic landscape of Daoist images and practices, as well as the development of an institution that was a key site in the history of Daoist art and in the wider history of Chinese Daoism.
- Art History Dissertations and Theses 
- Dissertations 
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