Facts About Ancient Building Complex In The Wudang Mountains | Kidadl

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Facts About Ancient Building Complex In The Wudang Mountains

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Wudang Mountain, also known as Taihe Mountain, is situated in the Shiyan City in the north-western Hubei province of China.

One of the most popular Taoist holy sites in China is the mountain houses, an ancient building complex. This complex has been on the UNESCO Heritage Site list since 1994.

Wudang Mountain covers an area of 123.93 sq mi (321 sq. km). And this includes vast expanses of sceneries, foliage, and cultural relics. There is a famous complex of temples, ancient palaces, and Taoist buildings that date back to the seventh century. The complex is extremely beautiful in terms of architecture and depicts the most significant standards of Chinese art and construction.

This cultural heritage site, preserved by UNESCO, forms the essential foundation for the conservation of Wudang culture.

Architectural Design

The ancient building complex in the Wudang Mountains is one of the finest examples of Taoist architecture. The complex is nearly 1,000 years old and includes nine temples, nine palaces, 36 nunneries, and 72 cave temples. The complex has been designated as a UNESCO Heritage Site due to its world-class beauty, size, and grandeur.

Created during the Ming and Qing dynasties, only four Taoist palaces, relics of two other palaces, and some cliff temples survive as of now. The main features of all these sites are remarkably well-preserved in terms of style, design, layout, materials, and technique. The halls and temples are architecturally significant and hold immense cultural value. They are considered invaluable for the study of politics of the early Ming dynasty as well as the devout history of China and its religious buildings.

The buildings vary in their construction style and building materials. There are wooden temples, stone cliff temples, and copper halls. Statues made of wood, stone, earth, and copper can be seen, demonstrating exquisite technique and creativity.

The palaces in the complex served as nuclei for other structures such as cliff temples and monasteries clustered around them. All the buildings are distributed regularly across the landscape and joined by a network of sacred roads.

The Taoist buildings on the mountain were planned and built by emperors and managed by stately officials. Every building in the complex is designed on a grand scale and constructed with a lot of care. They are lavishly furnished with statues and worship items that are considered unprecedented masterpieces among all of China's existing Taoist sites.

History And Cultural Significance

Based on the fact that it is built as a Taoist center, this complex beautifully showcases the essence of the Taoist culture. It exemplifies China's secular buildings' artistic and architectural accomplishments of the Yuan period and Ming dynasty. The history of Taoism on this mountain can be traced back to about 2,000 years. Taoism began to flourish primarily during the Tang and Song dynasties and reached its peak during the Ming dynasty.

Taoist ceremonial procedures follow a specific set of rituals that are passed down through generations of Taoist priests. These Taoist priests recite ancient scriptures as well as play Taoist music, following a centuries-old formula. Many scholars in China and across the world extensively studied Taoist music.

World Heritage Site

The Wudang Mountains is a small mountain range in Hubei province. The ancient building complex situated in the mountains has been declared as a UNESCO Heritage Site for its several Taoist monasteries, secular buildings, and palaces that have a profound influence on Chinese art and architecture.

All the buildings are closely associated with the growth of Taoism in China and extravagantly endowed by successive Emperors. An exceptionally big and well-preserved complex of Taoist buildings is significant material evidence for scholars studying Ming dynasty politics and facts about Chinese religious beliefs.

Protection And Management

The entire complex is protected and managed by many different Chinese authorities. At the highest level, it is managed by the Law of the People's Republic of China on the Protection of Cultural Relics.  

The protection, development, and management of the Wudang Mountains scenery area is exclusively taken care of by the Wudang Mountain Tourism and Economic Speak Zone. Furthermore, The Cultural Heritage Bureau is responsible for administering the cultural heritage and conducting all conservation works.

Over the years, all the necessary works on the complex, like cleaning, termite prevention, and reinforcement, have been carried out to ensure the original condition of the site in terms of style, layout, and material are all preserved. Additionally, the setting of the place has been significantly improved by the authorities by relocating residents out of the property area. This not only helps to safeguard the authenticity but also restore the original setting.

Other Miscellaneous Facts

The ancient building complex in the Wudang Mountains is a great place to enjoy a vacation.

Depending on your pursuits, there are a couple of things to do and see in the area. For instance, there are a few Tai Chi, martial arts, and Kung Fu training halls at an academy built in the mountain area. If you are interested, you can sign up for one or two classes.

Alternatively, if your aim is only to do sightseeing, you can take the cable car ride. It is a great way to explore the scenic valleys and beautiful Taoist buildings. If you take the cable car up, you only have to climb one or at the most two hours to see the whole area. The main historic sites in the area include Taihe Palace, Golden Hall (Golden Peak), Gutong Palace, Nanyan Temple, Yuxu Palace, and Jingle Palace.

Another important fact about this complex is that it is also referred to as a natural drugstore. This is because of the huge amount of Chinese herbs growing on these mountains.

Different forms of martial arts are taught here.

FAQs

Does Wudang still exist?

The Wudang Mountain range still exists. Earlier, it housed many ancient Taoist buildings, but many of them got ruined over the years. As of today, 53 ancient buildings survive in the complex.

Why are the Wudang Mountains sacred?

The Wudang Mountains situated in the Hubei province of China are home to many religious buildings and collections of Taoist temples and monasteries. This building complex was built in honor of the deity Xuan Wu. Also, the region is considered the birthplace of Taijiquan or Tai Chi.

When was the Wudang Mountains built?

The ancient building complex in the Wudang Mountains was built during the Ming dynasty (14th- 17th century). It contains Taoist buildings that can be traced back to the seventh century. These buildings exemplify the artistic and architectural achievements of the Ming, Yuan, and Qing dynasties.

Where is Wudang Mountains located?

Wudang Mountains comprise a mountain range located in the north-western part of Hubei, a little towards the south of Shiyan.

Why are the ancient building complex in the Wudang mountains important?

The ancient building complex in Wudang Mountains is an important Taoist center, best known for its Taoist versions of Tai-chi and martial arts. The palaces and temples in the complex signify the most significant architectural achievements of China's Ming, Yuan, and Qing dynasties.

When and why was the ancient building complex in the Wudang mountains declared as a World Heritage Site?

The ancient building complex in the Wudang mountains was declared as a UNESCO Heritage Site in 1994. This was done to preserve the buildings and uphold the essence of great Taoist architecture and culture.

<p>With a wealth of international experience spanning Europe, Africa, North America, and the Middle East, Anusuya brings a unique perspective to her work as a Content Assistant and Content Updating Coordinator. She holds a law degree from India and has practiced law in India and Kuwait. Anusuya is a fan of rap music and enjoys a good cup of coffee in her free time. Currently, she is working on her novel, "Mr. Ivory Merchant".</p>

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