From June 11 to 17,2016, a group of 12 teachers and students from Humanities College, Xiamen University went to Wuyi Mountain in Nanping City, Fujian Province and had practical investigation about world natural and cultural heritages there. The team consists of two leaders: teacher Liu Tingyu from History Department and counselor Zhou Junting, and other 10 students including 2 doctors, 6 postgraduates and 2 undergraduates from History Department, Chinese Department, Philosophy Department, etc. The investigation gained strong support from Wuyi Mountain Management Committee. The Wuyi Mountain World Heritage Monitoring Center joined and guided the activity.
Group Photo of the investigators
The topic of the investigation was The Ideas about the Wuyi Lord’s Connotative Analyzing and Inheriting. Influenced by ancient Minyue culture, Wuyi Mountain area is rich in local-characteristic folk beliefs as well as cultural relics. The Wuyi Lord, an immortal in Taoism taking possessions of Hades, has intimate connection with ancient Minyue group and history of South China. Through collecting folk stories, searching relevant literatures and visiting old villages and relics, the team explored the Wuyi Lord’s cultural connotation, development and his relation with Wuyi Mountain, hoping to make some useful suggestions to the layout adjustment of Wuyi Palace located in the center of the scenic spot and the cultural heritage project about the Wuyi Lord.
With a long history in Wuyi Mountain area, The Wuyi Lord was always respected by emperors and common people, and relevant sacrificial practices were written to some literatures such as Shih Chi and Wuyi Mountain History. The group visited Dawang Peak, Manting Peak, Hanging Coffin Burial, Han’s Sacrifice Temple and Toulong Cave, deriving a great deal. Dawang Peak, the first of the 36 famous peaks in Wuyi Mountain, is located on the right of the Chongyou Temple where held sacrifice for the Wuyi Lord. The peak, where the 13 immortals practiced Bigu according to the legend, was also the place storing Wuyi tribal chiefs’ coffins at first. Burial of hanging coffin is a symbol of Minyue culture originating from Wuyi Mountain. To the east of Dawang Peak there’s a cave with an air bridge in it, and coffins were placed on the bridge, preserving from decay for thousands of years. A deep and narrow crevice across the top of the peak is Toulong Cave, cause in Song Dynasty, jade slips were thrown here to sacrifice the Wuyi Lord and pray for flourish. To the north of Dawang Peak is Manting Peak. The investigators climbed to the mountaintop and saw flat ground where lies a huge stone named Yanxian Tan, and long time ago the Wuyi Lord used to serve feasts for villagers here. Another huge stone, Han’s Sacrifice Temple is on the mountainside, and Minyue villagers sacrificed the Wuyi Lord here. As is recorded in Shih Chi, to sacrifice the Wuyi Lord, Emperor Wu of Han prepared dried fish as offering in Chang’an and sent his envoys to set a ceremony on Manting Peak. After material collection and field investigation, the practice group finally drew a preliminary conclusion: the Wuyi Lord was first an ancestor worship of the Minyue nationality and gradually turned into an immortal, and from Tang and Song Dynasties the belief in the Wuyi Lord has been formed and continuously passed on among Wuyi Mountain area under the influence of Confucianism, Buddhism and Taoism. One of the most important find during this investigation was that the group saw a folk sacrifice for the Wuyi Lord at Shuangmen Temple in Shuangmen Village.
Investigators climbing Wuyi Mountain
With Wuyi Mountain Management Committee’s support, two teachers organized team members to cooperate and finish the practice. The group obtained materials through field investigation and interview and meanwhile saved information by video, written materials and recording. During the activity, members held sharing and summing-up meetings every night to better prepare for the next day’s investigation and the final practice report. Through this activity in Wuyi Mountain, students really felt history and culture on the scene and put their professional knowledge into practice. On the other hand, the investigation also helps to the cultural development, protection and heritage of Wuyi Mountain.
From 2002, Humanities College has signed an agreement with Wuyi Mountain Management Committee about combining teaching practice with the monitoring of local cultural relics. Every year, two groups from Humanities Collegewent to Wuyi Mountain for the practice cooperating with the local monitoring center and until now the activity has lasted for 15 years. Besides writing monitoring reports every year, the teams have also published special issues about the research in Wuyi Mountain’s geography, literature, Taoism culture and Min culture, showing Wuyi Mountain World Cultural Heritage abundantly and giving supports to its protection, management and development.