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People's Daily Online>>Life & Culture

'Chinese folk planetarium' gains protection in Shanxi

By Liang Saiyu (People's Daily Overseas Edition)

14:59, April 06, 2012

Edited and translated by Ye Xin, People's Daily Online

China has invested approximately 19 million yuan to protect and repair Yuhuang Temple, which is known as “Chinese folk planetarium” in Jincheng city of central China's Shanxi province, according to the local cultural relics management department.

The protection project contains not only the preservation of Yuhuang Temple but also the reparation of the statues of the twenty-eight mansions of the Chinese astronomy.

The statues of the twenty-eight mansions in Yuhuang Temple can date back to the Yuan Dynasty (1271–1368) and is the only surviving example in China.

The Twenty-eight Mansions can be considered as the equivalent to the zodiacal constellations in the Western astronomy, though they reflect the movement of the Moon in a lunar month rather than the Sun in a solar year.

Ancient Chinese astronomers divided the sky ecliptic into four regions and each region contains seven mansions, making a total of 28 mansions. The mansions are latitudes the Moon crosses during its monthly journey around Earth and serve as a way to track the Moon's progress.

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