Collected Works on the Northern Peak Temple


The Northern Peak Temple was the official temple dedicated to Hengshan in northeast China, one of the Five Sacred Peaks, worshipped for generations. It is located in Quyang, central Hebei Province. Originally a shrine from 98 B.C., the temple took shape in A.D. 500–512. The relics that now remain date back to 1270, when the temple was renovated. They consist of a main hall, the foundations of another hall, a pavilion, and three gates. The murals in the central hall depict sacred peak deities; three officials of Heaven, Earth, and Water; peaks; mountains; and immortals. At the site are also numerous steles engraved with inscriptions. During the Jiajing period (1522–66), Hou Tingxun, magistrate of Quzhen County, petitioned the provincial governor to compile these inscriptions of historical value. Hou and others were sent to the site to copy them. Eventually Huangfu Fang (1503–82), a poet and Ming official, compiled a volume in three juan and issued it in the 11th year of Jiajing (1532) with the title of Bei yu bian (Compilation of the Northern Peak). This work, a later and much-expanded edition in 10 juan (in four volumes), was compiled by Wei Xueli, a subprefect of Guangping, Hebei, and was issued in the 18th year of the Wanli reign (1590). It contains treatises, with illustrations, on the Northern Peak Temple, other peaks and temples in Quyang, Hengshan, and other areas, and the temple paintings. It also contains a map of China, entitled “Map of the unified domain of the great Ming.”

Last updated: January 31, 2012