Chongyang Palace

Chongyang Palace, 45 km (28 miles) from the city center, is located in Zu’an, a small town in Huxian County of Xian. It is one of the birthplaces of the Quanzhen School, a branch of Taoism. Chongyang Palace, a Taoist holy land, ranks first among the three birthplaces. The other two are White Cloud Temple in Beijing and Palace of Eternal Joy in Shanxi, a province in central China.

The name of Chongyang Palace originates from Wang Chongyang who combined the ideology of Confucianism, Buddhism and Taoism to establish the Quanzhen School. The seven famous personages of the School in ancient China were his students. They also made great contributions to the development of Taoism in the ensuing years.

This Taoist Temple was first built in Wang Chongyang’s old residence upon his death. Ma Yu, the director of the Quanzhen School at that time signed “Zuting” for it which meant it was the residence of the founder of a certain School. After Ma Yu died, the emperor agreed to build Lingxu Taoist Temple in the same place at the request of Wang Chuyi, one of Wang Chongyang’s students. Later Qiu Chuji, one of the seven big personages, advised changing the name to Chongyang Palace. During the reign of the Shizu Emperor of the Yuan Dynasty (1215-1294), the temple was imperially named Royal Chongyang Long Live Palace. After several restorations, though, some remains are still showing the brilliance of Taoism. The main scenic spots are Zu’an Forest of Steles, Footprint Rock, Fairy Bridge, Living-Dead Tomb, Wenchang Pavilion and Double Saints Palace and others.

 

Zu'an Forest of Steles

Zu’an Forest of Steles is also called Zu’an Stone Carvings. Over 80 carving articles including 55 steles are collected in Zu’an Forest of Steles, among which 31 giant steles of the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368) are of great influence. The epigraphs of the 31 giant steles were mostly compiled by masters, such as Zhao Mengfu, Han Chong, Song Bo, Wang Chongyang etc. Some of the rest of the steles belong to the Jin Dynasty (1115-1234), Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) and Qing Dynasty (1636-1911).

These steles record the history, doctrines and practicing methods of the Quanzhen School. Based on the content of the epigraphs on the steles, they are classified into religious and historical steles, calligraphy steles, practicing methods steles and other kinds of steles. Seven of the steles are decrees, five of which are a blend of Mongolian characters and Chinese characters. They are all of great point in doing research on the ancient Mongolian language. Additionally, steles like the calligraphy of Wu Daozi (a famous Chinese calligrapher), portrait of Wang Chongyang and the seven personages of the Quanzhen School are of high artistic value. Such large scale steles recording the development of the Quanzhen School have never been discovered in other places.

Steles in Chongyang Palace not only reflect the development of the Temple and the Quanzhen School, but also reflect the close relation between the development of Taoism and the politics of the Jin Dynasty and Yuan Dynasty. The practicing methods recorded on the steles provide rich material for research into Taoist culture and Chinese traditional medicine.

 

Footprint Rock

Footprint Rock was so named due to a story of Wang Chongyang. It was said that as Wang Chongyang cultivated his ideology, a grain of sand happened to be affected by Wang’s spirit. After that, the sand became stronger and stronger eventually becoming a rock. When Wang Chongyang realized that it is necessary to stop the sand, he kicked and hit the arrogant “rock” leaving his footprint and palm print. The footprint and palm print we can still see today remind us of the power of Taoism.

 

Wenchang Pavilion

The name of Wenchang Pavilion originates from an imaginary god——the Wenchang Emperor. He was considered directing fame, knowledge and written articles in ancient China. It is said that he also can bless the students who take part in the imperial examination. In the ancient times, the intellectuals held fete in Wenchang Pavilion hoping to have good luck in the pursuit of fame. The two children beside the Wenchang Emperor are Heavenly Deaf and Earthly Mute. The special arrangement aims to prevent cheating in the imperial examination. Nowadays, on the first floor of Wenchang Pavilion, an altar has been erected exclusively in honor of the Wenchang Emperor.

 

Double Saints Palace

The double saints in the palace refer to Confucius and Zhu Xi. The former is the founder of and the latter is a master of Confucianism. In this palace, the two authorities of Confucianism are worshipped by many intellectuals. Based on the ideology of Confucianism, Zhu Xi chose four of the works as the text books in the feudalistic society. The four books are Great Knowledge, the Mean Doctrine, Analects and Mencius. In the following years of the feudalistic society, the books were the main stream of thought in teaching.

Apart from the above mentioned scenic spots, there are other places to visit, such as Star Watching Gate and Taiqing Palace and others.

 

How to Get There:

1. Take a long-distance bus to Zu’an Town at Xian Shuisi Bus Station located at Fengqing Road. Get off at Chongyang Palace.
2. Take bus No. 928 from Xian South Bus Station or 930 from Sanfuwan Long Distance Bus Station, and get off at Huxian Bus Station. Then change Huxian city bus No. 901 and get off at Chongyanggong (Chongyang Palace) Station.
 Xian Bus / Metro Search

Admission Fee: CNY 25
Open Hours: Monday to Friday: 08:30-17:00
Saturday and Sunday: 08:00-17:00

 

Nearby Attractions

Fairy Bridge: It is an arch stone bridge built in the early years of the Yuan Dynasty, 7.5 kilometers (about 4.7 miles) from Chongyang Palace. With delicate relief of dragon head carved on its voussoir, the bridge looks still elegant. It is named due to a stone statue of Wang Chongyang unearthed here in 1987. The statue is a vivid depiction of Wang Chongyang seated with a serious expression. Flanked by two assistants, he seems to be devising the ideology of Taoism.

Living-Dead Tomb: Located in the Chengdao Palace, it is a tomb dug and named by Wang Chongyang himself and he lived there for seven years. After seven years of life in the Living-Dead Tomb, Wang brought himself to light again. He decided to pursue his dream in a personal manner. Actually, the tomb we can see today has an underground room. It has been blocked out of concern for tourists’ safety.