Located in the mysterious Chengkan Village in Huizhou District of Anhui Province, Baolun Hall is renowned for its well-preserved ancient architectures and colorful paintings with a history of over 500 years.
Chengkan Village was first built in the early days of the Three Kingdoms Period (220-280). It is said that the layout of the village caters to one of the Eight Trigrams-kan in Yijing (the Book of Changes) hence the name Chengkan (Further Reading: Picture of the Ultimate and Eight Diagram). The village can be called a maze owing to the anfractuosities of the streets and lanes interlaced in the village. There are more than 130 ancient edifices in Ming (1368-1644) and Qing (1644-1911) styles among which Baolun Hall is especially valuable.
Baolun Hall is only a part of the Ancestral Temple. However, due to further construction during the Ming Dynasty, this exquisite hall became the symbol of the entire temple. So today what we call Baolun Hall refers to this splendid temple.
The ancient temple covers an area of about 3,000 square meters (0.8 acre). You pass three entrances to get to Baolun Hall. Stepping into the first entrance, Yi Men, you are attracted by the great patio with two rows of epigraphic kiosks on each side. The great hall, following the second entrance features six towering stone pillars and 24 wooden pillars. Finally the magnificent Baolun Hall appears in front of you.
The Baolun Hall was first built in around 1542 during the Ming Dynasty. Why the colors of the drawings and patterns on the beams, lintels and doorframe still remain vivid after more than 500 years is a mystery. The noble hall was once a repository for ancestors' memorable tablets, and hassocks and tables for worship. Moreover, the beautifully designed rilievos featuring lions, clouds, lotus or geometric patterns on bluestone parapets, wooden eaves and crossbeams represent the unique Anhui culture. Two wooden staircases of more than 30 steps each lead you up to an attic, the highest spot of the Chengkan Village, where you can see as far as beautiful Mt. Huangshan.
Baolun Hall stands out for its artful structure, exquisite engravings and florid brushworks; it is listed among the major cultural relics under state protection.