Tuesday, 26 March

View Originals

Qingcheng Hill

Tuesday, 26 March


I woke at 5.30 a.m. Though it rained heavily yesterday, the weather today was quite good. First I went to see the ginkgo tree next to the hall. It is said that it was planted by Tianshi himself in the Han Dynasty. Many people encircled and looked at the tree. Hanging tumours grew among the branches, which were like hanging stalactites, and on top of these there were interlinking branches. Ginkgo is one of the remaining species of plants from ancient times, which belonged to the same category of cypress-pine, so it could be believed that it was one or even two thousand years old. People commonly believed it to be the fairy of Ginkgo. Women always went to it to pray to give birth to sons. But the tree was a male one and would not bear fruit. Thus it was totally illogical to pray for a son from it. To view the scenery afar from under the tree was really quite nice. The weather was fine so we could see Chengdu. Peng Chunxian said that people could see the Chengdu air raids last year from here. We then went to Sanqing hall. The sculptures on the pillars of the front caves of the hall are quite delicate, but it is a pity that the red stone here cannot stand up against erosion so that the Daoist clerics here have had to paint it in colour so its delicacy cannot be seen. In the hall, there was calligraphy in the Tang tomb style which was elegant. At the right-hand side at the back of the hall there was Lisshiquan and outside the rear door there were several Phoebe zhennan trees[1], which were said to be several thousand years old. Near the hall there was a Xiangmoshi, and it was also named Shijianshi, as well as Sandaoshi. The height of the rock was several tens of feet, and it was divided into three pieces, which were like sharp swords. It was said that devils were rampant in Qingcheng, Tianshi slashed and exorcised them. There was a big rock blocking the way. Tianshi used his sword to slash it and it was immediately split into two. We detoured around the rock to the falling spring between the two rocks. The environment was so peaceful and lovely that if we visited here in the summer we would be unwilling to leave. Then we went to Baiyunxi, which was also named Honya. The wall of the stone cliff was some one thousand feet high and there was a dense forest at the top. Peng Chunxian said it was rumoured by some that there were leopards. But they did not hurt the people. I wondered if the tigers and leopards were also influenced by Daoism. Earlier, monkeys appeared but they dispersed. They did not appear again. Peng Chunxian also said that some guests living in the rooms of the hall saw monsters snatching their hands inside the rooms but they could not see what they were. For me, I could not believe it. After having breakfast, we departed at nine in the morning. We walked via Zhibicao. It was said that Tianshi was an exorcist. He used his brush to divide the mountain and the cliff was broken. Its depth was some three hundred feet. We then went to Zhaoyangdong. The width of the hole was about a hundred feet and its depth some fifty or sixty feet. The statue of Sanqing was enshrined. The view afar in front of the hole was fantastic. If we come here in summer we would not feel the heat. Next to the hole there was a newly built western-styled building. Peng Chunxian said it was built by the director of the Sichuan Construction Bureau especially for General Chiang. It was because General Chiang would exercise and take a walk every morning but there was no spare place here so he stayed in Tianshidong and did not use the building. As a matter of fact, it was not good for the scenery to have such a building here. We climbed upstairs to the Zhaoyangling and viewed the Diyifeng scenery from the pavilion. The view was so nice. It was also a wonderful view to look back at Qingcheng from Diyifeng. We took a short rest at Guanriting and proceeded to Shangqinggong. There were eight views for the Shangqinggong. But now only the following can be reached: 1) Maguchi, 2) Yuanyangjing,3) Tianshichi,4) Baogu (It was also named Sharencao as it was the place where Zhang Xianzhong killed people) and 5) Qiganshi (It was the place where Zhang Xianzhong put his flags). We climbed the mountain and passed Maguchi to Shoufengting of Qiganshi then to Huyingting. We took a rest at that pavilion. There were robins singing in the trees and a sound like telling the time. The Daoist cleric said that there were two magic lamps on the mountain. The one in front of the mountain was green in colour, while the one to the back was red. Daoism deemed them as golden elixirs effusing light. We left the pavilion and carried on to Hongmuyushan and returning to Shangqinggong again. Yuanyangjing was in the hall. We had lunch at the hall. The painter Zhang Daqian (張大千)[2] was living here but it happened that he had left the mountain so we could not meet. After lunch we walked back to Tianshidong. On the way we saw a big rock with an engraving of four big words as “Diwudongtian”. For the ten “Dongtian” of Daoism, they were at: 1) Wangwushan, which was in the Yangcheng County of Jiangsi, 2) Weiyushan, which was in the Huangyan of Zhejiang, 3) Xichengshan, which was in the Hechi of Gansu, 4) Xixuanshan, which was in the Qingshan of Shanxi, 5) Qingchengshan, 6) Tiantaishan, 7) Loufushan, 8) Juqushan, which was in Juqu of Jiangsu, 9) Linwushan, which was in the Wu County of Jiangsu and, 10) Guacangshan, which was in Linhai of Zhejiang. When we arrived at Tianshidong it was still very early so we left the mountain and returned to Guan county. The rooms at the Sichuan Travel Agency were so dirty and crowded that we decided to stay at County government offices. County Magistrate Yang gave his room to Sun Fo, and gave the room of Section Chief Ren to me. After dinner, Ren went with a girl to return to the room to take something. Deng Zhaoyin and Qihui laughed at me that I “missed the pretty gal”. I also regretted that I did not take the chance to talk to her.

Director Wang said that there were three Sichuan devils: 1) The devil of vegetables Huang Jingning (黃靜寧), who was the owner of Guguyan 2) The devil of letters Liu Shiliang(劉師亮), as his Hanliushi and Shiliang Suibi were so popular. 3) The devil of the character Gongsun Changzi. Now there was one more devil practitioner Bu Xiaolan(補曉嵐).

[1] Phoebe zhenan trees are an endangered species. The wood, one of the most valuable in the world, is also known in China as ‘golden threaded wood’. Resistant to pests, only royal families could afford to use it.

[2] Zhang Daqian(1899-1983) was a hugely famous Chinese painter.