Historic Monuments of Dengfeng

Historic Monuments of Dengfeng

Brief Description

Fragments of pottery vessels dating from around the year 9000 BC found at the Xianrendong (Spirit Cave) site, Wannian County, in the province of Jiangxi represent some of the earliest known Chinese ceramics. The wares were handmade by coiling and fired in bonfires. Decorations include impressed cord marks, and features produced by stamping and piercing.

The Xianrendong site was occupied from about 9000 BC to about 4000 BC. During this period two types of pottery were made. The first consisted of coarse-bodied wares possibly intended for everyday use. The second being finer, thinner-bodied wares possibly intended for ritual use or special occasions. There is archaeological evidence suggesting that at some point both types of wares were produced at the same time.

The Center of Heaven and Earth

36aBEIJING, Aug. 2 (Xinhuanet) -- Shaolin Temple, the famed 1500-year-old cradle of Chinese Kung Fu and Zen Buddhism, is just one of the 11 ancient historical sites in Dengfeng of Henan Province added to UNESCO's list of World Heritage sites during its 34th session in Brazil Sunday morning (Beijing Time). Also known as "The Center of Heaven and Earth," the collection of monuments is a kaliedescopic testimony to the history of the middle kingdom and its scientific, religious and cultural achievements, according to Lü Wei, the director of the WorldHeritage Office of Dengfeng.

          Landscape in Dengfeng.(Photo Source: Xinhua)     

"Dengfeng was considered the center of ancient China, and therefore it served as the capital and cultural center of many dynasties. Disciples of Confucianism, Buddhism and Taoism based here to advance their religious cultures. Because of this historical background and architectural significance of Dengfeng, we call it 'the center of Heaven and Earth,'" said Lü. Among those listed is the Dengfeng Observatory, China's oldest and best preserved. Dating back to 13th century, the structure contains the remains of an astronomical observatory built in 1037 BC by the Duke of Zhou. Other sites registered include the Songyang Academy (484 AD), the 1,500-year-old Pagoda of Songyue Temple as well as the country's oldest existing ritual structures; three pairs of towers (Taishi, Shaoshi, and Qimu) built during the Han Dynasty (206 BC- 220 AD)

"The historical monuments of Dengfeng have passed through so many dynasties. They have witnessed the architecture changes of middle China, have the longest history, are the most diversified in style and have the richest cultural significance," Lü added.

Since 2004, the Dengfeng government has been preparing their application for World Heritage status, and in the meantime carried out many protective measures, including site improvements and implementing a monitoring system as well as passing historical protection laws and regulations…