Mount Wudang and Its Evolution
Mount Wudang is located southwest of Dangjiangkou City, northwest of Hubei Province, China. Some local people call it another name as Mount TaiHe or Mount XuanYue. Mount Wudang is perhaps the most famous Taoism holy land in China.
It is heard the Taoism deity Zhenwu practiced alchemitry here and succeeded in possessing Golden Elixir at last. Later his body changed into brilliant light and disappeared. Besides Taoism alchemitry, Mount Wudang is the birthplace of Wudang school Kung Fu (martial arts). The name of Wudang in Chinese characters has the meaning “Deserve nothing when there is no genuine Kung Fu”----Here the genuine Kung Fu means the good foundation of internal Kung Fu (Inner Qigong or initial phase of alchemitry) upon which the martial arts build up to deserve enduring test.
Mount Wudang covers an area of 321 square kilometers wide, with very rich beautiful sceneries and culture relics. The main tourist resorts include: three ponds, nine springs, nine wells, nine platforms, ten pools, ten stones, eleven caves, thirty six cliffs and seventy two peaks, all of them compose incomparable Chinese traditional mount-water drawings.
Besides the beautiful sceneries, the old Taoism buildings constructed over a long span of ancient Chinese dynasties deserve the calling of construction miracle in the whole world. In Tang Dynasty (627-649 A.C) the emperor Li Shimin ordered the construction of Five Dragon Ancestral Temple. As the time goes on to Song Dynasty, the Taoism mode based upon the worshipping Emperor Zhenwu and serving feudal administration developed to the prime phase. In Ming Dynasty, Emperor Zhuli entitled Mount Wudand as “Grand Mountain.” Only at this period of time Mount Wudang evolved to reach its most flourishing moment and became the imperial temple and the Taoism activity center.
Dotted in Mount Wudang most of Taoism buildings were constructed in Ming Dynasty. There exist recordings in history books detailed the whole process. The ming Dynasty emperor Zhuli ordered the construction of Mount Wudang after part of construction work--- Ancestor Temple, Heaven Alter, State Administration Altar, etc--- in Forbidden City in Beijing came to the end., 300 thousand of construction workers came to Mount Wudang to initialize the work starting from Purity and Happiness Palace in Danjiangkou City to Golden Top in Mount Wudang, which covering a distance of more than 70 kilometers. After 13 consecutive years of laboring there gradually formed the nine temples, nine palaces, twelve Chinese booth, thirty six halls, thirty nine bridges and seventy two cave temples. These construction works juncture one after another in different mode --- mostly by ancient plant road built along cliffs--and no gap emerge at any point. In such long panorama there are altogether 33 large building clusters with construction area totals 1.6 million square meters, which twice the area of Forbidden City in Beijing. The grandness of whole buildings, together with its rich construction skills, artistic value and history value, meets no counterparts in the long Chinese history in developing a specific mountain area.
In every perspective, the imperial veneration and deity loftiness permeates and mixes into each other, setting off at large their influence at the background of dropping cliffs, deep valleys, steep slopes, waving ridges and rushing water falls, thus wonderfully accomplishing the great unification of natural beauty and human’s cultural art.
In addition to its beautiful scenery, Mount Wudang gets its name for its rich Taoism culture. Wudang Kung Fu, founded by master Zhang Sanfeng, gets an equal status as Shaolin Kung Fu in China. Such Kung Fu arts emphasizes the inner Kung Fu training (alchemitry) and advocates to launch attack later and overcoming hardness with softness. So, its uniqueness set itself a very different school in so many Kung Fu schools in China history.
Taoism, the indigenous religion mode in China, gradually formed into its special existence and can be found in so many mountains in China that people may wonder why the temples in Wudang become so grand with no competitor. In fact, it has close connection with Emperor Zhuli of Ming Dynasty.
Taoist followers began to construct Taoism temples in Mount Wudang in Tang dynasty. Although in Song Dynasty there constructed some part, yet not until in Ming Dynasty there had been no large construction activity. Emperor Zhuli snatched the throne from his nephew by killing all his nephew’s family members. This act severely violated the normal feudal ethic and intimidates his control in later days. In order to make his ascending throne more rational he began to advocate the so-called theory of “deity offers throne” and he got the order from Great Emperor Zhenwu. Later when he succeeded in consolidating his control he began to reward the goodness by ordering the large construction work in Mount Wudang after finishing Forbidden City in Beijing. Emperor Zhulin also named the Great Emperor Zhenwu as the main protector for imperial court, thus the prime time of Mount Wudang began to open up its heavy curtain. The subsequent emperors in Ming Dynasty also regarded Moun Wudang as their imperial temple which can protect them and guard against any evil. So, at the end of Ming Dynasty Mount Wudang really emerged as the No. 1 Taoism Mountain in China and in the later several hundreds of years of development its followers spread to many parts of the world and its influence still remains very strong enough.
The emperors in Ming Dynasty offered so many deity statues, sacrifice utensils, sacrifice tools, curtains, flags, etc. that many people called Mount Wudang as the “Gold and Silver World” because of its rich resources.
Based upon the tale of Great Emperor Zhenwu practicing alchemy in Mount Wudang, the deity boulevard zigzags from the mountain foot to high up into the Golden Palace, lasting 70 kilometers and using long granite slats to pave. In the long time of construction in 13 years, Emperor Zhuli gave more than 60 times of order to direct the practical progress, concerning the deployment of man power, the scrutiny of construction drawings, the disposal of remaining construction material, etc. Especially, he troubled himself many times mentioning all construction should be finished no at the expense of damaging the natural layout of mountains, in order to adore nature.
Almost all construction works wonderfully take advantage of the grandness of the mountains and the profoundness of the deep valleys. The buildings, together with woods, stone, cliffs, torrents and the background of waving group mountains, make up the spreading roll of enchanting Chinese drawings. The incenses still burn with winding smoke, the wonderful Taoism music and miraculous tales, coupled with the pious followers, together transfer the ancient cultural influence to all around.
Although some buildings have collapsed into gravel, yet the remaining buildings always looks grand and of fine art. For example, in Fuzhen Temple there is a pillar supporting 12 girders. Nine Bend Yellow River Wall can convey voice as do the Heaven Altar in Beijing. In Body-Turning Palace, you can hear the sound of the bell striking outside the palace yet almost nothing in the palace. At the Golden Top the copper ware covered with gold is a miracle. When it gets lightning strike the sparkles will rush out everywhere and fireball can beheld. No damage incurred for so long time that every time after lightning strike it looks more brilliant. Sometimes you have to marvel at the ancients’ wisdom.
|Wudang Taoism Kung Fu Academy
Mount Wudang Scenery Zone
ShiYan City, Hubei Province, China 442714
Tel: 0086-136-0988-6620 (foreign)
Tel: (0)-136-0988-6620 (domestic)