Wudang Mountains is located in central China"s Hubei Province. For hundreds of years, Mt. Wudang has been regarded as a fairy mountain, a sacred land for Chinese Taoism (Daoism).After the film Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, people from home and abraod have been more and more appealed by the charm of this mystical mountain.
Wudang Mountain, also called Taihe Mountain or Xianshi Mountain in the past, is located near the city of Danjiangkou, in central Hubei Province. There are 72 peaks, 36 cliffs, 24 gullies, 3 lakes, 9 springs and 10 ponds there. The main peak, Tianzhu Peak, has an altitude of 1,612 m.
There are four Taoist palaces, remains of two other palaces, two temples and a number of cliff temples and halls of worship remaining on Wudang Mountain. The original features of these constructions are well preserved in terms of layout, design, style, materials and technique. Taoist halls are mainly built in secluded nooks or on terraces, surrounded by nunneries and halls of worship. And cliff temples are usually built on prominent peaks, with which the mountain abounds. The temples and halls are architecturally superb, and have great cultural and technological value. They are invaluable material for the study of the politics of the early Ming Dynasty, the religious history of China and ancient Chinese buildings.
The major characteristics of ancient groups of buildings on Wudang Mountain can be summed up as follows:
1. Superb Techniques
The buildings vary in style, and are constructed with different materials. There are wooden temples, copper halls and stone cliff temples. Statues made from copper, wood, stone and earth are noted for their delicate techniques and artistic creativity.
2. Treasure House of Taoist Architecture
The Taoist buildings on the mountain were planned by emperors, and managed by imperial officials. The buildings were designed on such a grand scale, constructed with so much care, and furnished with so many lavish statues and items of worship that they are regarded as unprecedented masterpieces among China"s existing Taoist constructions.
3. Historical Significance
The extensive construction on Wudang Mountain was carried out when Emperor Zhu of the Ming Dynasty was making great efforts to expand external contacts and promote Taoism in the country. He intended to consolidate his rule by instilling into his subordinates the idea that the imperial power is endowed by Heaven. Therefore, these Taoist buildings are of great significance for the study of the history and religious belief of that period.