Mt. Mulan Daoist Temple (Huangpi, Hubei)
Mt. Mulan is situated 30 kilometers north of the Huangpi District (the original Huangpi County), Wuhan City, Hubei Province. According to legend, it is the birthplace of the ancient heroine Hua Mulan. Looking like a mighty loin roaring to the sky at a distance, the mountain was originally named the Green Lion Ridge. It was also called the Ox Head Mountain. In the 37th year of the Wanli era of the Ming dynasty (1609), its name was changed to the present one. Its highest peak is over 600 meters high, and the mountain range has a circumference of 30 square kilometers.
Mt. Mulan has a long Daoist history. From the Sui and Tang dynasties to the Ming dynasty, seven palaces, eight temples and thirty-six halls were built on it successively. The buildings were constructed in accordance with the lie of the mountain, either high or low in picturesque disorder. The stone steps first lead up to the first entrance to the temple. On its left is the Hall of the Thunder Patriarch ( 雷祖 Leizu ), and on its right is the Preaching Hall. Upward is the second entrance. Standing in it is the “archway in memory of General Mulan of the Tang dynasty”, inscribed with four characters, “loyalty, piety, bravery, integrity”. Inside the archway is the Mulan Hall, which enshrines the statue of General Mulan. According to local chronicles, General Mulan was a native of Xiling, Huangpi. She was surnamed Zhu, the given name of her father was Shoufu, and her mother was surnamed Zhao. From childhood she was tall and sturdy, looked like a boy, and was fond of martial arts. In her childhood, she often offered incense with her father, and was well acquainted with Daoists Tieguan and Jingsong. Seeing her strong body and upright nature, the Daoists accepted her as their disciple and imparted her martial arts. As Mulan was especially good at using short spears (hua qiang), people called her Hua Mulan. When she grew up, Mulan resolutely joined in the army in place of her father. She fought gallantly on the battlefield and repeatedly performed outstanding service. Her story of disguising herself as man to fight in place of her father spread far and wide among the people. Since it was on this mountain that Mulan learnt her martial skills, people built a hall in this place to worship her. On the left of the Mulan Hall stands the Temple of The Big Dipper ( 斗姥 Doumu ). Above it there are still the Hall of Gratitude, the Temple of emperors, and the Hall of the Three Pristine Ones ( 三清 Sanqing ). At the top of the mountain is the Hall of the Golden Summit, which enshrines the gold-plated bronze statue of The Great Perfect Warrior Emperor ( 真武大帝 Zhenwu Dadi ), with his hair hanging down loosely and his feet bare. The Golden Lad ( 金童 Jintong ) and Jade Maiden ( 玉女 Yunu ) and the Water and Fire generals stand on either side in attendance. These statues are beautifully shaped and finely cast. Below the summit is the Myriad Dangers Peak, on which stands the Pavilion of The Jade Emperor ( 玉皇 Yuhuang ).
Most of the the buildings on Mt. Mulan are constructed with the technique of “dry rubble steen”. The flagstones pile up without slurry applied. The buildings thus show a unique appearance.