Created 23-Dec-06
Modified 23-Dec-06
20 photos
Situated in Shanxi province, about 5 hours northwest of Xian (exactly: in Chang'an county; with newer roads this might be quicker today). Yaowang Mountain 药王山 (literally: "Mountain of the King of Medicine") was the place of refuge, scientific experimentation and healing of China's greatest traditional physician, Sun Simao 孙思邈. Sun, who flourished at the beginning of the Tang dynasty, declined various official posts and practiced the medical profession instead, somewhat removed from the imperial court in Xian (then called Chang'an), but still close enough to be called upon by the imperial household in case of an emergency.

Yaowangshan, besides owing ist name and reputation to this illustrious physician, healer and adept of Daosism, is also known (among specialists, that is) for its unique epigraphical material, some of which dates back to the Northern Wei period. The steles housed here constitute some of the earliest Daoist texts and stone engravings (especially of an iconographic nature) in existence. I am grateful to the late Anna Seidel for pointing this out to me during my stay at the Hobogirin Institute in Kyoto in the summer of 1985.

Slide film scanned with an Epson Perfection scanner, converted to JPG and individually post-processed.

Thomas H. Hahn
Ithaca, NY