Located in central Shandong Province (just north of Tai’an City), you will find one of five sacred Taoist mountains in China , Tai Shan , also known as Mt. Tai or Mt. Taishan. There is a deeply rich culture and religious connection associated with the mountain. In this article, you will learn more about this mountain and why it is considered sacred to the people of China.
When the early history of the Chinese civilization is discussed, Tai Shan is one of the places that is highly regarded. There is evidence that humans lived in the region that date back 400,000 years with traces of the Yiyuan Man of the Palaeolithic Period. By the time Neolithic times arrived (5,000 to 6,000 years ago), two cultures were flourishing in the area. In the north, there was the Dawenkou, while the Longshan dwelled to the south of the mountain.
The Zhou Dynasty was characterized by the Spring and Autumn Period (770 to 476 BC), which marks the first sparks of creativity associated with the cultures of this time. Also, two rival states in the area started to emerge. The Qi was established to the north of the mountain, while the Ly lived in the southern region.
During the Warring States Period (475 to 221 BC), the state of Qi constructed a wall that measured 500 kilometers long so that they could protect themselves from any possible invasions by the state of Chu. To this day, you can still catch sight of the ruins of the walls.
Important Site for Buddhists and Taoists
Tai Shan serves and has served as an important center for religious groups, the Buddhists and Taoists. Cultural relics that can be found at Tai Shan include memorial objects, ancient architectural complexes, stone sculptures and archaeological sites of great significance. If you pay a visit to the attraction, you will encounter 22 temples, 97 ruins, 819 stone tablets, and 1,018 cliffside and stone inscriptions.
It was in 351 BC that a renowned monk named Lang was the first person to come to the mountain. There, he established the Lang and Divine Rock temples. During the Northern and Southern Dynasties (420 to 589 AD), more were built. They were called the Jade Spring Temple, God’s Treasure Temple and Pervading Light Temple. Prime Minister Li Jiefu of the Tang Dynasty (618 to 907 AD) stated that the Divine Rock Temple would become the first amongst the four temple wonders in China.
At the Temple to the Heavenly Queen Mother, Palace of Goddess Doumu, Azure Cloud Temple, Rear Rock Basin Temple and Supreme Lord of Heaven Temple , Taoist activities were held. The Temple to the Heavenly Queen Mother, which had been constructed before the period of the Three Kingdoms (220 to 280 AD), was the earliest out of the temple. The temple with the most influence was the Azure Cloud Temple. People from more than halfway across China had a profound connection to the structure. The location was so popular that during the Ming Dynasty (1368 to 1644), several hundred thousand worshippers would pay a visit to the Azure Cloud Temple on a yearly basis.