Jin Ci, Shanxi
The Jin Ci, or "Jin Memorial Shrine," is located near the Jin Springs about 25 km SW of Taiyuan. This has been a sacred area from the Bronze Age onwards; the river gave its name to the ancient kingdom of Jin (11th century BC - 4th century BC), which is the older name for Shanxi Province. A goddess of the springs was worshiped here from early times, and the area subsequently became associated with the memorial cult of Tang Shuyu, the founder of the Jin state. During the Northern Song dynasty, the ancient goddess was reinterpreted as the mother of Tang Shuyu, granted the title of Holy Mother, and honored with a major hall (later pages).
In this photo, two iron Song-dynasty lions guard the entrance gate (pailou) in front of the temple's Offerings Hall (1168 AD).