The Ancient Pest-Free Baoguo Temple in China

The Baoguo temple is dubbed an architectural wonder, being free from bird nests, pests, spiders, and dust. (Screenshot from Zhengjian.org)
The Baoguo temple is dubbed an architectural wonder, being free from bird nests, pests, spiders, and dust. (Screenshot from Zhengjian.org)

As Southern China is known for a region with humidity, typhoons, and termites, its natural condition is not suitable for wooden structures. However, the wooden Grand Hall of the Baoguo Temple constructed in the Northern Song Dynasty at Ningbo City in China’s Zhejiang Province has persisted for over 1,000 years. It is dubbed an architectural wonder, being free from bird nests, pests, spiders, and dust.

It is said that the reason for the temple being pest free has something to do the materials used to construct the temple. The Baoguo Temple was constructed using yellow cypress, which is known for its properties of solidness and decay resistance. Since yellow cypress contains a type of oil with a pungent aroma, it can rid the Baoguo Temple of pest damage.

The Baoguo Temple’s Grand Hall has distinct southern Chinese architectural features that impacted the construction of all subsequent ancient Chinese buildings. Since the Tang Dynasty, there have been close cultural exchanges between China and Japan. Many construction workers were invited to help construct various temples in Japan, which gave many ancient buildings in Japan southern Chinese architectural features. Many experts thus refer to the architectural structures and the system of wood brackets of the Baoguo Temple as examples for overseas architecture.

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