Visited early 1986, when the premises were still (or, again) under construction, and not yet open to the public. This is an eminently important site in the history of Daoism, specifically, Quanzhen Daoism 全真教. It is closely associated with Master Chongyang (Wang Chongyang 王重陽, ~1112-1170), who is generally regarded as the founder of this branch of Daoism.
This monastery was founded in the 12th century, and developed into one of the largest Daoist centers "under Heaven". It is said that its halls had over 5400 rooms, and that close to 10.000 monks and followers lived and practiced, learned and taught here. It was a city unto its own. Not much of it remains, but one important feature, the steles, seem to have been preserved, surely not all of them, but at least 38, some going as far back in time as the Yuan Dynasty, therefore constituting important primary source material for the study of this site and the imperial patronage it received throughout various emperors' reigns.
Photographs taken with a Minolta XM, on Chinese b/w film. Scanned with an Epson 4990 scanner to TIFF at 2400dpi, converted to JPG (at 100% quality). Individually adjusted for exposure and lens distortion.
Thomas H. Hahn, Ithaca, NY
© Thomas H. Hahn Docu-Images