March 20, 2011

Lao Tse's temple in Wuhan

Lao Tse, the famous Chinese philosopher and author of "The Way," was from Wuhan. There are Daoist temples and shrines all over town. Emma and I visited this one in downtown Wuhan. It had a lovely statue of Lao Tse in an inner courtyard/parking lot, and a vegetarian restaurant that wasn't open when we were there.
Temple Entrance

I enjoyed the temple's bustling activity. Many people lived there, and they were walking around, working on renovations, playing music or doing chores. Everyone, men and women, has very long hair tied in a top knot. Some people wore an interesting hat that the topknot showed through like a cake with a round candle on top!

Man playing flute wearing the hat with top knot on top!

Another man with topknot playing a really long bamboo flute like instrument. People followed us through the shrine part of the temple while playing instruments. It was lovely. Maybe Daoists need music to pray.

This was the prayer wheel/pyramid we are used to seeing in Buddhist temples with a thousand tiny Buddhas behind little glass or plastic windows. This one had pictures of people, tiny sanskrit prayers written on strips of paper in with the pictures, and it spun around as we watched and made music, a giant music box of prayers.

In front of the musical prayer pyramid I noticed this pieced prayer stool cover. Quilting is world wide. Everyone started it and no one can claim to be first... Here that American Quilt world???


This is a mural of Lao Tse and his disciples. I believe his "first" disciple, Zhong Tse, is also in this picture. I am most curious about the one woman in the picture. I have not yet found a reference to her on line. I will ask the next time I am at a Daoist temple.

I like that the disciples are all holding books similar to the calligraphy books I buy here in Beilun, a simple paper book with red lines to guide your writing characters. Several of the men in the mural are squeezing their books, but the woman holds hers with her sleeves. A nice detail.

Lao Tse also rode around on a cow, not a horse like other people. An in this carving he also has a really big forehead (as do many pictures of philosophers) I don't know why, and Emma didn't know either. We didn't ask but I will be sure to next time.

More on the temple later. Leave messages!


  1. Have you asked people you know to read her name for you? It looks like those captions are names.

  2. Actually I found out her name and who she is! Her name is Sun Bu'er and she is one of the 7 immortals - the first Daoist disciples. Check it out: - SAME TEMPLE PICTURE!!! the internet - it can help! Thank you Wiki and :)

  3. Thank you J.L.A.B for your question - you are the BEST