Weibao Mountain National Forest Park is 11 km southeast of Weishan county seat. It covers 19 square km with the highest altitude being 2,569 meters above the sea level. As one of “the four most famous Taoist mountain in China” and “a Taoist Holy Mountain in Yunnan, Weibao Mountain can date back to the Tang Dynasty when the Taoist architecture complex was originally constructed. When it came the late period of the Qing Dynasty, Taoist temples and shrines could be found all over the mountain.
The vegetation on Weibao Mt has been well maintained. There distributed luxuriant pines, cypresses and latifoliate plants. One can find quite a few centuries-old trees such as Castanopsis delavayi, wild camphor. In front of Lingguan Hall, a 300-year-old camellia tree bears hundreds of flowers in each February and therefore makes Weibao Mountain much more impressive.
The main sights include Chaotian Gate (Archway), Tuzhu Temple, Wenchang Palace, Doumu Pavilion and YUhuang Pavilion etc.
(1)-Tuzhu Temple (Patron God)
Also named Xunshantuzhu Temple, Tuzhu temple is a traditional building with gable and hip walls. It is the shrine for Xi Nuluo who was the first King of the Nanzhao Kingdom (738-937) in the Tang Dynasty. Legend has it that Xi Nuluo was nominated as the King of Nanzhao Kingdom by Laojun. After his death, he was again bestowed as the Mountain Deity (Xunshanshen in Chinese) who is one of the dominating Gods in Yunnan’s Taoist temples. Beside Xi Nuluo are his two assistants dressed in Yi costumes. Several couplets have been attached to the gate of the temple, depicting the history of Xi Nuluo and the history of Nanzhao Kingdom. One couplet goes that “Xincun has a long history, and ancestor Xi Nuluo led his tribe to develop agriculture in Weibao Mountain area; Yi group also has long history, and Weishan is the cradle of Nanzhao Culture”. Xincun is a Yi village at the foot of Weibao Mountain. It is also the former residence of Xi Nuluo. Yi ethnic members in Weishan area regard Xi Nuluo as their patron god; and each year they hold two grand sacrificial ceremonies for him. One is on lunar September 14th which is also the birthday of Xi Nuluo; the other one is on lunar Jan 15th during which Yi people would torch the spiritual tablets of the dead relatives so as to guide them (the newly-deceased) back to ancestral hall. Traditionally, these grand ceremonies would go with folk singing and dancing by the Yi members. In Wenchang Hall next to Tuzhu Temple, a fresco vividly depicts Tage (Singing and dancing) staged during the sacrificial ceremonies.
(2)-Wenchang Palace: the highlight of Weibao Mountain
It has a majestic archway entrance and is composed of two halls between which one can see a pool with limpid water. In old times, the locals used to offer sacrifice to Dragon King to pray for timely rainfalls, thus Wenchang Palace is also named Longtan (dragon pool) Hall. In the reign of Qianlong Emperor of the Qing Dynasty, this place was converted into a Taoist temple where Wenchang God and Guansheng God were enshrined (In Taoism, Wenchang God is in charge of promotions and Guansheng is in charge of marshal arts and warfare). A hexangular (Wenlong Pavilion) is set in the middle of the pool. It is accessible by two arched bridges. In the west of its pedestal, there is a famous fresco-“Tagetu (Tableau of Singing and Dancing)”, 1.2 meters long and originally painted in the 24th year (1795 A.D) of Qianlong Reign in the Qing Dynasty when the pavilion was constructed. The upper part of the fresco is well conserved and the figures on it are recognizable while the lower part is stained and damaged by water. The fresco depicts a scene that 40 people are staging a grand dance: 34 people are dancing hand in hand circling another 3 guys who are playing different musical instruments; outside the multitude, another 3 guys are also playing instruments enthusiastically. Most of the figures in the fresco are dressed in the Yi traditional costumes: man wear shirts and embroidered jackets; and women wear waistcoats and dark aprons, etc. The fresco as a whole manifests the Tage Scene (Singing and Dancing) of the Yi ethnic group 200 years ago in Weishan area and thus is deemed a priceless cultural relic item.
(3)-Doumu Temple (Pavilion)
Doumu Temple is situated at the top of the Mountain. Doumu is a Taoist goddess that is said to be the Mother of Taoist deities of the North Dipper. She has 3 eyes, 4 heads and 6 arms hence is powerful and extraordinary. She has beside her two assistants-the Jade Maid and Golden Boy. Doumu Temple has enjoyed broad fame in China’s Taoist circle. It’s also the most perfect viewing stand for visitors to enjoy the picturesque sceneries, the spectacular Taoist complex and have a birds-eye view of Weishan Ancient Town.
(4)- Jade Emperor Temple and others
Jade Emperor Temple (Yuhuangge in Chinese) was constructed in the 22nd year (1688) of Kangxi Reign in the Qing Dynasty. A Jade Emperor temple is one of the highlights in Taoism. Other sights include Lingguan Hall, Sishuai Hall, Sanguan Hall and Lvzu Hall etc. Gods enshrined inside are Lvzu (Lv Dongbin), Deity of Heavenly Rulers, Deity of Earth Rulers, Deity of Water, God of Fortune, Zhaojun (God of Kitchen) and so on. An annual Dongjing Music Festival is held from lunar Feb 1st to 15th when piteous pilgrims from near and far will gather here.