Within the boundaries of Huangshan Municipality, peaks rise beyond peaks and rivers run across rivers, with Mt. Huangshan standing dominantly in the middle. The damp climate accounts for the verdant mountain ranges and rich natural resources. The scenic zone is 500 li in circumference, where thousands of peaks is shrouded by mists and clouds all the year round. The majestic and enchanting scenery is marked by quaint pines, grotesque rocks, the sea of clouds and hot springs, well known as the four wonders. Mt. Huangshan has been listed by UNESCO in the Inventory of the World's Cultural and Natural Heritage and is now a world--famous summer resort and tourist destination.
The Qiyun Mountain in Xiuning County has been a Taoist sacred place south of the Yangtze River since the Tang Dynasty. The mountain is not high, but it is attractive with its peculiar antique appeal--the endless fantastic peaks, the colorful cliffs, the layers of sandstone shaped like a multi-storeyed house, and the caves, gullies, springs and waterfalls scattered here and there. The story runs that Emperor JiaJing of the Ming Dynasty once sent his men to the Qiyun Mountain to pray for a son, and as his wish was fulfilled later, he approved the construction of the "Heavenly Master's Palace", which soon began to attract more and more pilgrims. On the mountain, about a hundred temples, palaces, pavilions and titlears were built, and nearly a thousand inscribed tablets and steles were set up. The Qiyun Mountain thus gained a fame equal to that of Mt. Longhu in Jiansxi, Mt. Wudang in Hubei and Mt. Heming in Sichuan. Now they are known as China's four time-honored Taoist sacred mountains. The Qingliang Mountain, a provincial nature reserve, and the Guniu Jiang Mountain, a state nature reserve, stand facing each other, one on the east, the other on west, like two huge green screens of natural defense. As a result of varied topography, the area beyond is rarely trespassed by the human feet. The warm and rainy climate and the abundant vegetation, on the other hand, have provided a cozy home for the little-known rare animals and plants there.
Unfolding a map of Huangshan City, you will be surprised to find that the towering, undulating Qingliang, Qiyun, Guniujiang and Huangshan Mountains are like four lofty warriors guarding the city on all four sides--east, south, west and north respectively, with the Xin'an River and Lake Taiping dancing like jade ribbons, one up and the other down in tacit harmony, while the crisscross system of the Qingyi, Changjiang and Shuiyang Rivers are like glistening necklace strewn over the land. It is these loving mountains and rivers that have nurtured generation upon generation of Huizhou people. The rivers also facilitated the interflow between Huizhou and other places, thereby playing an important part in its growth and civilization, while the mountains have served as great shields warding off the outside blows, thereby ensuring the unimpeded development of the Huizhou culture.
The bounty of Nature and the diligence of the people inevitably resulted in the emergence of successive talented scholars and the unique system of Huizhou culture, which adds greatly to the splendid treasure-house of China's national history. With a marked local color, Huizhou culture carries a regional significance.
However, as a highly focused representative of the national culture, it has been radiating in the endless flow of history. Some scholars regard it as the symbol of the Chinese national culture, and some others believe that the research of the Chinese culture cannot solve the Oriental mystery without starting with an analysis of Huizhou culture. In short, in terms of the social economic base and ideology it reflects, the folkways and customs it has boiled down and kept, the feudal ethics it upheld vehemently, and the new academic ideas it failed to resist, Huizhou culture is almost all-encompassing- Xin'an painting, Xin'an medicine, Xin'an engraving, Huizhou architecture, Huizhou carving, Huizhou epigraphy, Huizhou potted landscape, Huizhou opera, Huizhou woodblock print, Huizhou cuisine, Huizhou handicraft, etc.
Since ancient times, literary learning has been a prevailing practice in Huizhou. A common purpose for friends to meet was to discuss each other's writings. There was a saying that even a small village of ten households hears continuous reading voices day and night. At a flourishing age Huizhou scholars were found in practically every domain. Such a popular esteem for knowledge has been passed down to the present day. In many houses in Yixian County, one will see scrolls of ancient mottoes hung up such as "For hundreds of years the family has done nothing uncharitable, yet the first of all virtues is none other than persistence in academic studies". And the local people write their own Spring Festival couplets, which are usually done by calligraphers in other parts of China. It is then small wonder that so many famous scholars have emerged from Huizhou through the ages.
Over forty Huizhou names are listed in the new edition of Lexi-cographical Work. Among the most famous of all the Huizhou celebrities are Fang Hui, Wang Daokun, Pan Zhiheng, Zhang Chao, Cheng Menzheng (literary men); Jian Jiang (artist, originator of Xin'an painting, established as one of the four best Xin'an artists, besides Zha Shibiao, Sun Yi, and Wang Zhirui); Wang Ji (forerunner of Xin'an medicine); Wang Ang (compiler of Reference to Material Medicine); Cheng Yi, Cheng Hao, Zhu Xi (originators of the Cheng--Zhu Li school); Zhu Sheng (who advised Zhu Yuanzhang to build forts and store grain before taking the throne) Cheng Dawei (mathematician); Wang Maoyin (financier); Dai Zhen (philosopher); Wang Shishen, Luo Pin, Huang Binhong (artists); Tao Xingzhi (educationist); Cheng Yaotian (researcher of Confucian classics); Ling Tingkan (researcher of musical temperament); Zheng Fuguang (physicist); Cheng Sui, Huang Shiling (seal-engravers); Hu Shi (famous erudite scholar); Hu Zhengyan (inventor of multicolor registering printing); Li Tinggui (originator of Huizhou ink sticks); Wu Luheng (well--known craftsman of Fengshui Compass); etc. They are the pride of Huizhou, and will glitter in the endless flow of history like brilliant pearls.
The success of Huizhou merchants had no doubt played a decisive part in the emergence and growth of Huizhou culture. Huizhou merchants generally refer to businessmen from the six counties under Huizhou Prefecture--Shexian, Xiuning, Qimen, Yixian, Jixi and Wuyuan. Most researchers believe that Huizhou merchants as a whole came into being in the South.
[ 1 ] [ 2 ]