Cultural Landscapes

2010-11-27 作者: Mount Huangshan   信息来源: Mount Huangshan

Huangshan Mountain is not only a natural beauty, but also a rich treasure house of art. Since the Tang Dynasty, people have been visiting, developing, and extolling it, leaving us abundant cultural heritage. Its cultural heritage, both material and non-material, not only bears a historical witness of ancient Huzhou culture, but also boasts unique styles and features.


“Monks reside in many famous mountains all over China.” Mt. Huangshan is no exception. Buddhism was spread to Mt. Huangshan during the Reign of Emperor Yong Jia in the South Dynasty (424 - 453 AD).  Nearly one hundred monasteries were built throughout the ages, of which Xiangfu Monastery, Mercy Light Monastery, Cuiwei Monastery and Zhibo Monastery are called Four Buddhist Shrines in Mt. Huangshan. Most of the monasteries here have been deserted. However, some ancient buildings like Mercy Light Monastery, the Thousand-Monk Stove, Fayan Spring,  Fish Bridge Nunnery and Pine Valley Nunnery have been restored since the 1990s.


Mt. Huangshan had more than 40 ancient pavilions, most of which, however, have vanished. After years of restoring and constructing, over 30 pavilions have emerged, such as Paiyun, Haixin, Yiran, Lianyu and Guanpu pavilions. Most of them are made of granite, following the Huizhou style architecture marked for primitive simplicity and elegance. These elaborate and distinctive pavilions are so poetic that they have become ideal places of rest and sightseeing as well. Meanwhile, they add to the natural beauty.


The footpath of Mt. Huangshan originated from the Tang Dynasty, took shape in the Ming and Qing Dynasties, developed in the Republic of China and improved in the contemporary time. The footpath, centered with the Heaven Sea, is composed of four main paths in the four directions, and is supplemented with branch paths, netting the scenic spots in different areas. Now the path measures 85 kilometers with more than 63,000 stairs. The existing Luohan Ancient footpath, constructed in the Ming Dynasty, is located on the cliff in the middle of the Inverted V Waterfall. It has more than one hundred stairs 35 centimeters wide and more than 200 meters high. Extremely steep, it is named “Bird’s Path”.


With substantial streams and gullies, Mt. Huangshan has various bridges across streams, cliffs, and valleys. There are more than 70 bridges, old and new, most of which were built in the Ming and Qing Dynasties. The majority of them are arch-shaped stone bridges characterizing novelty in design, variety in style, representing varied features of different times. Among them are the famous ones like Scene Viewing Bridge, Xiaobu Bridge, Famous Spring Bridge, White Dragon Bridge, Lima Bridge, and Fairy Crossing Bridge, to name just a few.

Stone Carvings on the Cliff

Over 280 places of cliff stone carvings still exist in Huangshan, including more than 30 tablets in such handwriting styles as zhuanshu (seal script), lishu (official script), xingshu (running script), kaishu (regular script) and caoshu (cursive style) representing the following different calligraphic schools: Yan, Liu, Ou and Zhao. These carvings are various in contents, ranging from nature extolling to religious legends, as well as in styles, ancient and primitive, solemn and elegant, or free and easy. The ten Chinese characters on the cliff of Qingluan Peak was carved in 1939 by General Tang Shizun. The diameter of each character is as wide as 6 meters and the vertical stroke of the last character is as long as 9.4 meters, which is hardly seen elsewhere in the world. Stretching down form the 200-meter-high cliff, all the characters look vigorous and unconstrained.

Literature and Art

 The beauty and novelty of Mt. Huangshan has always attracted numerous men of letters and celebrities. While viewing the scenery and cultivating their temperaments here, they have written abundant poems, songs, proses and travels. Among them, more than 20,000 poems and hundreds of proses were written over the 1,200 years from the prime time of the Tang Dynasty to the late Qing Dynasty. Recently, there are still fine works extolling Mt. Huangshan, mainly in the form of films and TV programs. Therefore, it is well justified to say that Mt. Huangshan has bred the artists, who in return bring artistic life to it.