Witness the localization of Buddhist architecture in NW China
An aerial photo shows the Subashi Buddhist Temple Ruins along the Duku Highway. [Photo by Wei Xiaohao]
Located 20 kilometers northwest of Kuche county in Aksu, Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, the Subashi Buddhist Temple Ruins is an ideal destination for history buffs and scholars. The site contains two clusters of temple ruins on the east and west banks of the Kuche River.
The Subashi Buddhist Temple was built in the third century AD and was abandoned after the 10th century AD due to wars. It is the largest, most well-preserved, and oldest cluster of Buddhist buildings preserved in Xinjiang.
Tourists visit the Subashi Buddhist Temple Ruins along the Duku Highway. [Photo by Wei Xiaohao]
The eastern cluster of temples includes a Buddha hall, monks' quarters, and three pagodas. The western cluster is characterized by more building remains, with the north, central, and south pagodas and the south temple as the main landmarks, featuring murals and Qiuci inscriptions.
The area of Kuche was under the jurisdiction of the Qiuci during the Han and Tang dynasties. Qiuci was an important kingdom on the ancient Silk Road and a center of Buddhist culture in the Western Regions. The pagodas at the Subashi Buddhist Temple, featuring circular bodies on square bases, are typical examples of the Buddhist pagodas in the Western Regions, representing the localization of this architectural style in the region.
Many types of relics have been found at the Subashi Buddhist Temple Site, including caskets, silk fabrics, ancient coins, pottery, bronze, iron, wood, bamboo and paper writings, mural fragments, stone-carved Buddha statues, and clay sculptures. These precious relics provide abundant evidence of cultural exchanges in the ancient Qiuci area on the Silk Road.