08.13. TALK: The Rebuilding Of Pear Orchard (Ci Yin An) Temple


China Building Restoration, anySCALE, and the Courtyard Institute invite you to our next talk given by China “adventurepreneur” Chris Barclay on the rebuilding of Pear Orchard Temple. Chris will be sharing his first hand experience on the renovation and preservation of a crumbling temple located in China’s remote Bai minority region in Shaxi, as well as his perspectives on the significances of restoring historic buildings in China.


Shaxi Pear Orchard TempleFront temple door

Shaxi Pear Orchard Temple, originally known as Ci Yin An (the Temple of Sheltered Mercy), is a multi-level temple complex housing four unique shrines on four levels, together representing a mix of Buddhist, Daoist and folk religious traditions. This temple is located in Diantou Village, Shaxi, Yunnan, and was a functioning nunnery with a history of 1000 years until the 1960s. In it’s more recent history the temple was maintained by the village elders of Diantou, who collected funds for its ongoing and ever increasing repairs. By the mid-2000s the temple had become too expensive for the village to maintain and it fell into a state of disrepair.


In 2012, Chris became committed to fund the restoration of the temple to its original condition in gratitude for the birth of his daughter. Three years later in 2015, the Pear Orchard Temple reopened as a community and religious center as well as the Shaxi visitors’ center. The temple is now equipped with a teahouse, cooking school, meditation center, Yoga terrace, classrooms and vegetarian dining hall named Pear Blossom Vegetarian Restaurant (梨花素菜馆).


The Rebuilding

P1010725Instead of demolishing and rebuilding a new temple from the ground up – as is often the more economic solution for such neglected buildings – Chris decided to try and maintain as much of the original structure and symbolic features as possible. He extended its life and purpose both as a religious retreat and by opening it up to the eco-tourism industry. He brought local craftsmen in to preserve the original building as well as showcase their intricate carpentry and stone-masonry skills. He also managed to salvage much of the existing stonework, roof tiles, window lattice work and much besides.


In this talk, Chris will start off by sharing a six minute video showing how he initially started this project. He will also share some details about the restoration process, including how they dealt with the floors, roof and almost every window of this Ming Dynasty structure. During this presentation, Chris will will also touch on the importance of using local craftsmanship, the challenges of repurposing temple spaces and adhering to UNESCO heritage conservation practices while relying only on personal funding for the entire project.


The talk will last 45 minutes to one hour, and there will be 45 minutes for a Q&A session.


About The Speaker

Chris Barclay studied at the Beijing Foreign Language College in 1988 and worked in the U.S. Embassy in the wake of Tiananmen. 1995, Chris started ALTEC, one of the largest professional training skills companies for multinationals in China. In 2000, he went on to design and build the Yangshuo Mountain Retreat, a 32-room ecolodge on the Yulong River in Yangshuo. In nearby Moon Hill Village, he rebuilt a mud-brick barn which became the Yangshuo Village Inn. In 2012 Chris established Old Theatre Inn, a 5-room heritage hotel in Shaxi, Yunnan, built around a 250 year-old theatre temple. He currently lives with his wife and daughter in Chiang Mai, Thailand, and spends Summers in Seattle Washington.



Thursday, August 13th, 7:30pm – 9:30pm




Courtyard Institute


Seating limited to 40 people so please follow this link and reserve your tickets online.


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