Phil Cleary's view on Australian politics, people, vfl and afl football, music, history and literature Phil Cleary's view on Australian politics, people, vfl and afl football, music, history and literature Phil Cleary's view on Australian politics, people, vfl and afl football, music, history and literature

Phil Cleary's view on Australian politics, people, vfl and afl football, music, history and literature
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Phil Cleary's view on Australian politics, people, vfl and afl football, music, history and literature Phil Cleary's view on Australian politics, people, vfl and afl football, music, history and literature
Phil Cleary's view on Australian politics, people, vfl and afl football, music, history and literature
Phil Cleary's view on Australian politics, people, vfl and afl football, music, history and literature Phil Cleary's view on Australian politics, people, vfl and afl football, music, history and literature Home : Travel Phil Cleary's view on Australian politics, people, vfl and afl football, music, history and literature

 

 

 

KEN WHITE RUNS AN EYE OVER THE LOCAL TERRAIN

Northern suburbs boy and former La Trobe University activist, Ken White, takes us to his China:

Quanzhou must be one of the best kept tourist destinations in China .
You won't find it in any guide book and if you have heard of it at all it is as an uninteresting place halfway between Fuzhou and Xiamen in Fujian province. The province that eye balls Taiwan.


Quanzhou's history really starts in the Tang dynasty and has flourished ever since. Many of its historic sites have been preserved and are easily accessible from the town centre.

Local kids outside an old temple complex set into the old wall at Chongwu. The wall was originally built to keep out pirates.

I have visited there twice in the last month, once with my Chinese wife Wang Xiao yan who was mainly interested in the Buddhist and Confucian influence and once by myself when I was at leisure to wander further afield.

I will only cover the places we visited but there is much more on offer.
Of particular interest to me was the Moslem influence. It is said that the four greatest disciples of the prophet Mohammed came to China to preach and two came to Quango.

They were known as the 3rd and 4th worthies or sages. They did not try to replace existing faiths and as such are revered today as the founders in China of ore the worlds great religions. When they died they were buried here. The site today is known as the Holy tombs and is a cultural relic.

 

Chongwu fishing village

The site also contains the graves of many Moslem seafarers who died in Quanzhou, this city being at the end of the famous silk road of the sea. Indeed the famous Chinese Moslem Admiral Zheng visited here in the fourteenth century to pay homage before he set out on his famous voyages to Africa and Arabia. Indeed an inscription in his own words can be seen at the Tomb site.


The Mosque in the center of town is the oldest in China built in 1006 by Arab traders. It is still a place of worship today and for the price of three kuai about 70cts you are free to wander enter and wander around . While small compared to the great Mosque in Xian it nevertheless is rich in Middle eastern architectural and history.


The Kaiyuan temple is a Buddhist complex covering an area of 7,800 square meters. It is bounded on the east and west by two magnificent pagodas built in the Song Dynasty. The temple itself was built in the Tang Dynasty and some of the Buddhist scriptures are said to have been written in blood. In the grounds are trees the oldest of which dates back 1,300 years.


Of particular interest is the old Manaichaen Christian temple about an hour from Quanzhou. It is not easy to get to but it is certainly worth the effort. The temple is the only existing example of Manichaeans left in China.

Remains of the only Manachaiean Christian temple left in China. Disciples of Mannes, a saint of the Eastern Christian church, are believed to have reached Quanzhou during the Tang dynasty While their origins are not clear, it is believed they too arrived from India via the silk road.

The followers of Mannes of the eastern Christian church arrived in China to escape persecution sometime in the Tang dynasty via the silk road .It seems clear that some reached Fujian province via the silk road of the sea. Of the years the original Christian temple has been adapted to Buddhism and their is confusion as to its exact origins.

There is one statue in the grounds of an old monk with western features and in one small temple is a relief statue known as the Persian lightening Buddha but which is now accepted as a statue of Mannes. The temple is now a cultural relic.

Tombs of the two original Moslem missionaries sent by Mohammed in the early 7th century to Quanzhou Fujian province via the silk road of the sea.

Many people worship at a temple known as A Valhalla to Guan Yu and Yue fei or the military saints. In olden times people made sacrifices to the military saints and the 24 brave soldiers. There are cultural relics such as the inscription of "Righteousness" by Zhu Xi from the Tang Dynasty.


My wife was particularly fascinated by Quig yuan hill covering an area of 62 square kms. While decimated during the cultural revolution there are still nine large size Taoist and Buddhist stone carvings from the Song and Yuan Dynasties and over 500 inscriptions carved into the rocks. The largest statue is of the Taoist sage Lozi who is said to have disappeared into the during the Tang dynasty stopping on his way to write the"I Ching" the book of changes .

Famous stone bridge built in the Song dynasty over 1000 years ago.

One could spend a day wondering around this mountain complex and stopping at various small tea houses to sip tea or just soak in the history.

Ken White
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