Taoist temples and music on Mount Tai
Located in Tai'an, East China's Shandong province, the sacred Mount Tai is considered one of the important blessed realms of Taoism and the "Abode of the Immortals" since ancient times.
According to historical records, there were 22 Taoist temples on Mount Tai during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) and 80 in the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911). Only a few of them, including Dai Temple, Bixia Temple, Jade Emperor Temple, Doumu Temple and the Mother of Heaven Pool are well preserved following the years of difficult social changes and trials and hardships.
Located at the foot of the mountain and measuring 405 by 236 meters, Dai Temple is the largest and best-preserved structure on Mount Tai. Built in the Han Dynasty (206 BC-AD 220) as a site at which emperors paid their respects to the gods, the temple was expanded and renovated by rulers of the Tang (AD 618-907) and Song (960-1279) dynasties.
Situated to the north of Tai'an City, the Dai Temple is the largest and best-preserved architectural complex of Mount Tai. [Photo by Zhang Jie/sdtxta]
It is said that Cui Wenzi, the first direct ascendant of Zhang Daoling, a well-known Taoist figure in Eastern Han Dynasty (25-220) and Ma Mingsheng, Cui's disciple used to confine themselves in lofty hermitages on Mount Tai to practicemeditation.
Dai temple's main structure, the Tiankuang Hall, houses a giant Taoist mural that is 3.3 meters high and 62 meters long and depicts the god of Mountain Tai on an inspection tour. The mural details forests, palaces, bridges, riding beasts and 697 people and was painted during the Song Dynasty (420-479).