From the ground up

One of the largest Shaxi temples undergoes major restoration

If you want to restore a crumbling Chinese temple, start with the understanding that it would be cheaper to build a new one from the ground up. This restoration project total investment is now over $100k USD and we’re far from done, though about half of the major structural work will be done by Christmas, just a week away. In total, we have replaced every floor, roof and nearly every window of the original Ming Dynasty era Shaxi temples.

This week we demolished a 10m long wall opposite the Sakyamuni Buddha altar, which was leaning in and near collapse. The original wall was build on a stone footing, which had subsided, so like all of the work undertaken by Mr. Yang’s team, we decided to make the new wall much stronger. We used as much of the existing stone as we could salvage, combined with some new stone to fill a trench which we  then stabilized with cement. This new foundation will provide enduring support for the rebuilt rammed earth wall to replace the old one.

The rest of our work this week includes completely new roof beams and struts for gables on the Jade Emperor roof, door and window panels for the ground floor of the nun’s quarters, replacing tiles on that roof and pouring new floors for qing brick pavers.

Pagoda roof strut layout, Pear Orchard Temple, Shaxi Yunnan China

Mapping pagoda roof strut assembly

New roof struts in place, Pear Orchard Temple, Shaxi Yunnan China

Placing roof struts by number with rebar brace

Completely reassembled roof truss above Jade Emperor shrine , Pear Orchard Temple, Shaxi Yunnan China

Completely rebuilt rafter assembly above Jade Emperor shrine

Re-plastered Sakyamuni shrine walls and new rafters in place, Pear Orchard Temple, Shaxi Yunnan China

Re-plastered Sakyamuni shrine walls and new rafters in place

Original archway, Pear Orchard Temple, Shaxi Yunnan China

Original archway with new stairs

Rendering applied, Pear Orchard Temple, Shaxi Yunnan China

Rendering applied

Plaster application complete, Pear Orchard Temple, Shaxi Yunnan China

Plaster application complete

Pear Orchard Temple, Shaxi Yunnan China

Cleaning off old tiles to re-install

Restored tiles ready for installation, Pear Orchard Temple, Shaxi Yunnan

Restored tiles ready for installation

Demolishing spirit wall to prepare new foundation, Pear Orchard Temple, Shaxi Yunnan, China

Demolishing spirit wall to prepare new foundation

Pear Orchard Temple, Shaxi Yunnan China

Entire wall removed and new trench prepared

Filling the trench for new spirit wall foundation, Pear Orchard Temple, Shaxi Yunnan China

Filling the trench for new spirit wall foundation

Cement wall foundation, Pear Orchard Temple, Shaxi Yunnan China

Cement foundation footing for new spirit wall

Preparing new windows, Pear Orchard Temple, Shaxi Yunnan China

Preparing new windows on site

Entirely re-built lower panels for nun's quarters, Pear Orchard Temple, Shaxi Yunnan China

Entirely re-built lower panels for nun’s quarters

Cement flooring for nun's quarters to prepare for qing brick pavers, Pear Orchard Temple, Shaxi Yunnan China

Cement flooring for nun’s quarters to prepare for qing brick pavers.
This was previously tamped earth of which we dug out and removed over three cubic meters on each side.