Mt. Kuocang is a rather longish chain of mountains, physically defining the borders of several counties in Zhejiang province, such as Linhai, Xianju, Huangyan etc. The site depicted here constitutes the 10th Large Grotto-Heaven according to Du Guangting's tabulation. It is situated about 16 miles (25km) east-south-east of the county seat Xianju 仙居.
My records about the Grotto itself state that it was about half-way up the mountain, just above the level of the new reservoir. Its measurable depth was about 30 paces. It was rather scarcely adorned with mostly small, local-style Buddhist items. No Daoists were in attendance during my visit, and almost nobody knew about its former status as one of the "Big Ten" Grotto-Heavens. In fact, the last daogu 道姑 sold her part of the grotto and left in 1959. During the Republican era, Jiang Kaishek's troups forced a female Daoist master and her students out and converted this cavern into a weapons depot. One of the female students married one of the soldier it is said. While the reservoir was constructed, the engineer overseeing the project lived here until its completion in 1980.
Two stele, one Song, the other Ming, were in evidence, although badly damaged (the Song stele was split in two and used as a threshold to the grotto).
Kuocangshan, it should be noted, nowadays has the third largest wind power farm in China; at the same time, it is designated as the Kuocangshan Mountain Ecological Park.
Visited end of November 1984. Full written record preserved.
Thomas H. Hahn
© Thomas H. Hahn Docu-Images