revenge of the prime target

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This part of the province heavily depends on coal mining – much like the areas of Shanxi I had come through a few months ago (definition of hurt, mountain temples):

dust

I wondered at this dude sweeping the ground in a world full of dust:

cleaning

But then there were also other things to look at besides the effects of coal mining:

Huaguoshan

This is Huaguoshan 花果山, a Buddhist cave dwelling from the Tang-dynasty made into a temple.

I found the principal deity to look rather scary:

Monkey King

And there was another set of statues about the Journey to the West (history lessons, muslims and water fountains):

statues

Apparently, Xuan Zang had come through here or something, which would make sense since we’re on one of the ancient Silk Roads.

Well, dust to dust…

I had lunch in a small miner restaurant where little kids were drinking beer and smoking cigarettes.

Then I entered the mine:

coal mine

I don’t know how this could have happened, I would never intentionally set my foot into an area this sensitive, but somehow miraculously the dudes working there just waved me in and wanted to chat:

coal miners

From what I understand, this is hard work, but it pays better than other jobs.

Of course I didn’t get to see the real black guys, as these dudes were only the ones working above ground:

with shovel

I didn’t dare to stay long, lest we all might get into trouble, but I had a good time with the friendly bunch anyways:

miners

The next bit of road was very relieving, since someone had pointed out a way to walk on the mountain side above the highway:

valley

Towering above the dust and the exhaust below felt so good, I could actually take a deep breath:

settlement

And then I arrived at the historical center of attraction of the area:

Dafo Temple of Binxian

Dafo Temple 大佛寺 of Binxian, also from the Tang-dynasty.

Someone has told me that I am often wrong. Well here we go again:

You remember me going off about the dumb “Cultural Revolution” cutting heads off of statues a few days ago (the prime target of the dumb)?

Well here’s the thing:

headless statues

It happened here, too.

But according to what the curator told me, neither this nor the decapitations at Qianling had anything to do with the 20th century. In fact both took place about 1200 years ago, when Emperor Tang Wuzong 唐武宗 felt threatened by the rise of Buddhism and started a time of relentless religious prosecutions.

It feels weird being wrong in an article that I myself chose to call “the prime target of the dumb”.

Change of subject – there’s a very nice large Buddha statue in here:

Buddha head

It’s about 20m tall, and back in the nineties a team of German workers came over here to help make sure that it stayed intact:

24m Buddha

“Big fat guys, those Germans” the curator told me, “and so hardworking – for lunch, they’d just get a tomato and a loaf of bread, and then they’d be back at work again! I think they didn’t like our food that much.”

Weird Germans.

Just how do you remain a big fat guy on a tomato and a loaf of bread?



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