KEN WHITE'S CHINA
Northern suburbs boy and former La Trobe University activist, Ken White, takes us to his China:
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.
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 world’s great religions. When they died, they were buried here. The site today is known as the Holy tombs and is a cultural relic. 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 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.
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 .
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 . 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.