The North Star Project, 2013-2014 Report Number Six — Jintai Temple, China, by Brock Erdahl

The North Star Project, 2013-2014 Report Number Six — Jintai Temple, China, by Brock Erdahl

3. Jintai Temple

Jintai Temple 2

Buddhism has flourished in China since ancient times.  Over the centuries, a multitude of temples, monasteries, statues, and other invaluable sites and artifacts were created across the country.  Unfortunately, many of them were destroyed in whole or in part during the tumultuous period between the 1840s and 1970s.  The Cultural Revolution (1966-1976) proved to be especially devastating.  Historical and religious relics of all sorts were demolished during this period in order to distance China from its supposedly shameful past, eliminate worldviews other than Maoism, and hasten the appearance of a communist utopia.  Jintai Temple, which was originally constructed in the south of Zhuhai during the Song Dynasty (960-1279), suffered the fate described above, though its ruin actually predated the Cultural Revolution.  Today it has been reconstructed and currently serves as a monastery, place of worship, and, for better or for worse, tourist attraction.  Similar renovations have been made to many other damaged sites of historical, cultural, or religious significance throughout China over the last three decades.

Jintai Temple 1


For all of the North Star Project 2013-2014 Reports, see

For all of the North Star Project 2013 Summer Reports, see

The North Star Project: Collaboration between The Middle Ground Journal Student Interns, The College of St. Scholastica, and North Star Academy 8th Grade Global Studies Classes, 2013-2014 School Year Reports.

Under the leadership of our North Star host teachers and student interns, The North Star Project has flourished for two years. For a brief summary, please see a recent article in the American Historical Association’s Perspectives on History, at:

Having re-tooled and re-designed the collaborative program, we are drawing on the experience of our veteran student interns, ideas from our host teachers, and new projects provided by our incoming student interns. This school year The Middle Ground Journal will share brief dispatches from our North Star Project student interns, particularly from those who are currently stationed, or will soon be stationed abroad. As of the time of this report we have confirmed student interns who will be reporting from Mongolia, Southern China, Shanghai, northeastern China, The Netherlands, Tanzania, Ireland, England, Finland, Russia, and Haiti. We also have students developing presentations on theatrical representations of historical trauma, historical memory, the price individuals pay during tragic global conflicts, and different perceptions of current events from around the world.  We will post their brief dispatches here, and report on their interactions with the North Star students and teachers throughout the school year.

Hong-Ming Liang, Chief Editor, The Middle Ground Journal, The College of St. Scholastica, Duluth, MN, USA, 2013-2014 School Year

(c) 2013 The Middle Ground Journal, Number 7, Fall, 2013. See Submission Guidelines page for the journal’s not-for-profit educational open-access policy.


Filed under Brock M. Erdahl, North Star Student Editors, Professor Hong-Ming Liang

12 responses to “The North Star Project, 2013-2014 Report Number Six — Jintai Temple, China, by Brock Erdahl

  1. Andy

    It looks like these temples are something worth preserving. Thank you for sharing.

  2. Zhiyu Yang

    The Cultural Revolution is not and can not be any sense of revolution. It is mistake,bringing a serious disaster to the country and the people .Historical buildings were destroyed on purpose; family members were sharply demarcated from each other; scholars were insulted by students;many cases were judged unjustly and wrongly……This tragedy should not happen again in wherever places in the world.

  3. Tayler

    The destruction of historical artifacts is a common theme found in all revolutions. There is something about removing a community’s history that also takes away from their sense of unity and hope. While I do agree that there are times for revolution, it pains me that this also means the destruction of beautiful artifacts and the loss of whatever stories they have to tell.

  4. Maija

    I don’t know much about this topic but it is sad how so much was destroyed. It is true that there is a lot of history in those sorts of artifacts that is lost even though they tried to rebuild.

  5. Miranda King

    These pictures are absolutely gorgeous! It is hard to find out that much destruction these historical sites has taken place. It was good to hear that there are people out there making an effort to restore these places.

  6. Through reading this, I’m reminded of World History Seminar’s first reading about creating a collective history in Taiwan, but rather than create, China’s Cultural Revolution tried to erase parts of their history. Later, however, it sounds like they rebuilt it, aimed at returning that history. I’m curious as to who led the efforts to rebuild the lost artifacts and why.

  7. Kyle Stepka

    Looking at these pictures bring up so many question and also the love of learning about this. Like how long did these take to built and I cant imagine what it looked like back then and how powerful it was and still is to this day.

  8. Evangelista Chicheko

    I am not really familiar with this topic but reading the article has helped me understand a little bit more about the Cultural Revolution. Despite the predicaments that were experienced in the past, I am glad to realize that some of the temples have been revived and are being used for better purposes.

  9. daniela rojas

    Looking at those pictures made me realize how back then they really paid attention to the details of their structures. Those temples are amazing and I can’t imagine the hard work and time it took for those to be built.

  10. Mackenzie Sherrill

    It’s always sad for me to read that such important history can be taken away in an instant. I was very glad to hear that the remains of this temple were rebuilt because now people can appreciate it all the more & even learn about the history of the temple.

  11. David Miller

    I really love the pictures that you have placed in this piece of writing. I have done research on the cultural revolution, and i can remember in my research the things that you spoke about with the devastation in that time period.

  12. Hannah Kunde

    I’ve only ever been to the temples in Los Angeles in California, but these temples are truly amazing. The architecture and the history that surrounds the restoration of these buildings must be extensive. I’m glad that so many people are so involved in keeping history alive for future generations to enjoy.

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