This group of galleries comprises a photographic record accumulated over quite some time - it has been exactly 29 years that I have started to travel in the mountains of China. My first ascent was Mt. Emei, in late December 1981, not too long after the Cultural Revolution. Much was still in disarray on the mountain at the time, to put it mildly. My last ascent dates to December 2009 - Mt. Wuyi, which now ranks as a cultural and natural UNESCO World Heritage Site and is included as "Lesser" Dongtian 16 in Du Guangting's hierarchy of Daoist sites large and small.
This, then, is an assemblage of sites following the Tang dynasty text on Daoist "Grotto-Heavens and Auspicious Sites" 洞天福地: 10 Major + 36 Lesser + 72 Auspicious Sites. I visited most of them (hoping to complete the list some day in fact), and hereby present some of my visual records and findings.
Note that those galleries which represent the "Big Ten" Grotto-Heavens are marked with a capital D and a number. Thus the marking D1 represents Mt. Wangwu as it is the first on Du Guangting's list.
Many of these photographs date back to fieldwork in the mid-eighties, and are film based. I switched to digital in 2002. Cameras used include Nikon, Leica and other brands.
In general, the central and southern provinces are well represented. A site in Gansu is not (yet) included. Likewise, not all locations in Sichuan are documented, either. I have worked with many texts extolling the virtues of each site, and have tried to capture the most pertinent features of each location as they were described in these traditional texts. Note that my own visual and textual archives on each site are much more comprehensive than what I am able to present here.
Thomas H. Hahn
Beijing & Ithaca
© Thomas H. Hahn Docu-Images