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Kunming Black Dragon Pool Park

Black Dragon Pool is located at the foot of the Wulao Peak of the Longquan Mountains in the north of Kunming and is regarded as the No. 1 ancient shrine in central Yunnan; It’s known for its four wonders, namely the Plum Trees of the Tang Dynasty, the Cypresses of the Yuan and the Camellia and Steles of the Ming Dynasty.

As early as the Han Dynasty, the Black Dragon Pool was referred to as Heishuici (the Black Water Shrine) in the northwest of Dianchi County of Yizhou Prefecture which was the former name of Yunnan in the West Han Dynasty. Legend goes that the palace of the Black Dragon King is in this pool, so the water would never dry up; thus it’s named Black Dragon Pool. Since tang Dynasty, civilians of Kunming employed this place for making sacrifice and praying rainfalls; the Governor of Yunnan in the Ming Dynasty, Mu Ying, enlarged the park and renamed it as Heilonggong, the Black Dragon Palace; in the onward Qing Dynasty and Republic of China, it underwent frequent restorations and was named again as Yuquan Park in the period of RC.

Among the Black Dragon Pool complex, the Heilonggong and the two pools are its highlights. Heilonggong or the Black Dragon Palace is actually a shrine, established in 1454, and is composed of two courtyards. The outside courtyard is set with a joss-burner with such patterns as Eight-diagrams and North Dipper which are normally employed for Taoist divining; in the midst of the yard is a vivid sculpture of the Black Dragon, it’s supposed to be the Dulong Dragon King in charge of the rainfalls; further in the shrine one can see a black dragon and a yellow dragon twisting on the columns, and other Taoist Gods such as the Goddess of Lightning. Gods of Thunder, Wind etc. The pool is actually composed of two pools, one deep and clear, the other shallow and muddy. The water in the clear pool comes from underground, and looks dark as the pool is very deep. Where the two pools join is a bridge. Although the water of both pools meets here, fish in one pool would never swim to the other.

The Longquan Taoist Temple, also named Zijixuandu (the Purplish Fairy Land), is hidden in the depth of the woods on the mountain top; it is a sacred Taoist center in Yunnan, and people come from far and wide to make sacrifice here. It consists of three halls, the Beiji(the North Pole) in which Zhen Wu God is enshrined, Yuhuang and Sanqing; these halls and mansions are well preserved. With centuries old plum trees, cypress and camellia tree of the Ming Dynasty, it is one of the finest Daoist temples in Yunnan. The two plum trees from the Tang Dynasty are red and double petalled; it is said that they were planted by the monk Dao 'an from the Longquan Mountains in the Kaiyuan and Tianbao Periods (713-756 A.D) in the Tang Dynasty; the main trunk of the plum trees withered in 1923. But the trees, surviving thousand years’ weathering, still blossom and emanate their pleasant fragrance. Besides the plum trees are two huge cypresses that are erecting in front of the Zushi Hall and the Yuhuang Hall, tall and green, like giant umbrellas; the larger one requires five adults to encircle its trunk; it is said to be planted in the Song Dynasty (960-1279), and thus nearly is 1,000 years old. An inscribed stone tablet stands beside the cypresses as one of the most valuable relics at this Taoist temple.

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