Supreme Harmony Temple and Purple Heaven Temple on Mt. Wudang (Danjiangkou, Hubei)

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Mt. Wudang is situated in Danjiangkou City, Hubei Province. It is the Sacred Space ( 道場 Daochang ) of a Daoist Lordly Spirit ( 尊神 Zunshen ), the Great Perfect Warrior Emperor ( 真武大帝 Zhenwu Dadi ). There are numerous halls on the mountain, and the most famous among them are the Supreme Harmony Temple ( 太和宮 Taihe Gong ) and the Purple Heaven Temple ( 紫霄宮 Zixiao Gong ).

The Supreme Harmony Temple stands on the mountainside of Tianzhu Peak, the highest peak in the range of Mt. Wudang. The temple was built in the 14th Yongle year of the Ming dynasty (1416) and named “Dayue Supreme Harmony Temple” as inscribed on a horizontal tablet. There were 78 halls then, and in the Jiajing era, the temple was enlarged into over 500 halls. Today only the main hall, the Worship Hall, the bell tower and drum tower, and the Copper Hall are existent. The main hall is the Supreme Harmony Hall, which enshrines the bronze statue of the Great Perfect Warrior Emperor and statues of the four Supreme Commanders ( 元帥 Yuanshuai ), the Water and Fire Generals, the Golden Lad ( 金童 Jintong ) and the Jade Maiden ( 玉女 Yunu ), etc. Two bronze steles are placed on either side of the entrance to the hall, one erected in memory of establishing the Canglong Ridge Thunder Altar and a gold statue by imperial order in the 29th Jiajing year of the Ming dynasty (1550), another in memory of the left Vice-President of the Board of Works, Lu Shu and others worshiping in the 31st Jiajing year of the Ming dynasty (1552). In front of the Supreme Harmony Hall is the Worship Hall, around which stand some steles. The bell tower and the drum tower stand on the either side of the main hall. A huge bronze bell hangs in the bell tower; it was cast in the 14th year of the Yongle era of the Ming dynasty (1416). On the Xiaolian Peak opposite to the main hall there is the Zhuanzhan Hall, which keeps a copper hall that was cast in the 11th year of the Dade era of the Yuan dynasty (1307) and moved from the Tianzhu Peak in the 14th year of the Yongle era (1416). Down the right side of the Worship Hall is the August Scriptures Hall, the tablet of which is inscribed with the words “metropolis of white jade”. This hall enshrines the divine statues of the Three Pristine Ones ( 三清 Sanqing ), The Jade Emperor ( 玉皇 Yuhuang ), The Big Dipper ( 斗姥 Doumu ), Celestial Master Zhang ( 天師 Tianshi ), Patriarch Lü( 祖 Zu ), etc. There are exquisite paintings of stories about Daoist immortals in the hall, and reliefs of Daoist figures on doors, windows and corridor lintels. In front of this hall stand a stage, a dining room and the Hall of The Three Officials ( 三官殿 Sanguan Dian ). The whole building of the temple lies under an isolated and lofty mountain range, and the halls stand against cliffs. The buildings are rationally arranged and appear both magnificent and exquisite.

The Purple Heaven Temple lies under the Zhanqi Peak of Mt. Wudang. It was built in the 11th Yongle year of the Ming dynasty (1413). There were originally 860 buildings, and the existing ones are divided into three lines. The middle line comprises the Dragon and Tiger Hall, the Hall of the Ten Directions, the Purple Heaven Hall, and the Parents Hall. The Eastern Temple and the Western Temple lie in the eastern line and the western line respectively. The Dragon and Tiger Hall enshrines the divine statues of the Black Dragon ( 青龍 Qinglong ) and the White Tiger ( 白虎 Baihu ), and the Hall of the Ten Directions enshrines statues of the Numinous Officials. The main hall of the Purple Heaven Temple is the Purple Heaven Hall, which consists of five rooms both in width and depth. It enshrines the bronze statues of the Great Perfect Warrior Emperor in various appearances, old, middle-aged and young, in civil and military dresses, which were made by imperial order in the Ming dynasty. The four valuable colored lights hanging in the hall and the incense burners, candlesticks, precious bottles and lights on the incense burner table were all bestowed by the emperor. A model of Mt. Wudang founded in the 44th Wanli year of the Ming dynasty (1616) is on display in the center of the hall. The Parents Hall behind the Purple Heaven Hall is a pavilion-styled building, with its upper floor enshrining the Jade Emperor and the Big Dipper, and the lower floor enshrining the parents of the Great Perfect Warrior Emperor. The magnificent Purple Heaven Temple is the largest and most intact temple on Mt. Wudang. It is now the seat of the Mt. Wudang Daoist Association.