张家界玉皇洞

Yuhuang Cave - Zhangjiajie Yuhuang Cave


Useful Information

Location: 8 km from Zhangjiajie, Fengxianggang Township, Yongding District.
South of Makong Hill in Fengxianggang Township, Yongding District of Zhangjiajie City.
(29.130183, 110.397135)
Open: All year 7-18.
[2021]
Fee: MAR to NOV: Adults CNY 225, Children (1.3 m-1.5 m) CNY 115, Children (<1.3 m) free, Disabled free, Seniors (70+) free.
DEC to FEB: Adults CNY 115, Children (1.3 m-1.5 m) CNY 60, Children (<1.3 m) free, Disabled free, Seniors (70+) free.
[2021]
Classification: SpeleologyKarst cave SubterraneaCave Church
Light: bring torch
Dimension:  
Guided tours:  
Photography: allowed
Accessibility: no
Bibliography:  
Address: Yuhuang Cave, Tel: +86-, Fax: +86-,
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.

History

1799 begin of construction.
1807 work completed.
1959 listed in the Hunan Provincial Cultural Relics Protection Unit.

Description

张家界玉皇洞 (Zhangjiajie Yuhuang Cave, Jade Emperor Caverns) is, despite the name, not a cave but a series of Taoist cave temples. The 300 m long cliff contains eight side branches or niches with the names Fengquan Cave, Yujin Cave, Haobi Cave, Mochi Cave, Hulong Cave, Xiongshi Cave, Kongsheng Cave, and Yinguo Cave. The cliff is 130 m high and the caves are located at three distinct levels. The uppermost level is called Heaven, the middle level is called Human World, and the low level is called Difu or Hell. Yuhuang is the main cave temple and contains the most spectacular sculpture, a 10 m high statue of the Jade Emperor. The cave was named after this statue, Jade Emperor is in Chinese 玉皇 (Yù huáng, Jade Emperor). The Jade Emperor, wearing a golden crown and a dragon robe, is seated in the middle of the cave with his hand holding a pouch. He is flanked by statues of a golden boy and girl, the golden boy is holding a vase and the jade girl is holding the handle of a zither. Formerly it was called 雷电洞 (Thunderbolt Cave). It is also the highest cave and has given its name to the whole site. The cave is 4 m high, 5 m wide, and 3 m deep.

The Yuhuang Grottoes were commissioned by 李京开 (Li Jingkai), a man of local fame, during the period of Emperor Jiaqing during the late Qing Dynasty (1368-1911). He was a gentry who owned land and lived from renting it. He employed numerous local stone artists between 1799 and 1807, who created 19 stone-carved figures and more than 50 other carvings. The statues depict emperors, sages, immortals and Buddhas, and some animals. The caves also contain inscriptions.

The 因果洞 (Karma Cave, Cave of Causes and Fruits) at the lowest level is the starting point. It shows statues of (Yan), 牛头 (Ox Head), and 马面 (Horse Face). The cave is rather spacious, has a cave river and many stalagmites.

Further uphill is the 孔圣洞 (Kong Sheng Dong, Confucius Cave), named after a statue of Confucius which has been destroyed, only the pedestal still exists.

The next cave is 狮子洞 (Lion Cave), where a statue of a lion and a statue of Li Jingkai, who created the cave temples. A narrow passage leads to the 虎龙洞 (Tiger and Dragon Cave) with statues representing the four expectations: (Yao, virtue), 后稷 (Houji harvest), (Qi, education) and 皋陶 (Gaotao, peace). Both caves are connected inside, so it is actually only one cave.

The next cave on this level is 黑池洞 (Black Pond Cave), which has a statue of the god 文昌 (Wenchang) and is engraved with some couplets and poems. Then there is 墨池洞 (Mochi Cave) and 魁星洞 (Kui Xing Cave) with a statue of 魁星 (Kui Xing) and a statue of 鲁班 (Lu Ban). 魁星 (Kui Xing) is a character in Chinese mythology, the god of examinations. He is an associate or servant of the god of literature, Wen Chang. 鲁班 (Lu Ban, *507–✝444 BC), a Chinese structural engineer, inventor, and carpenter during the Zhou Dynasty, who is revered as the Chinese Patron of builders and contractors. In Chinese folk religion he is revered as the god of carpentry and masonry. The last cave is 玉金洞 (Yujin Cave).

玉金洞 (Yujin Cave) can also be reached by climbing up the stone staircase from the Lamb Spring at the foot of Ma Kong Mountain. It is 10 m high, 8 m wide and 10 m deep, and contains a statue of 土地爷 (Tudishen) the God of the Soil and the Ground. He is also called 土地公 (Tudigong) or 土地 (Tudi) and is a tutelary deity of a locality in Chinese folk religion and Taoism. Normally the statue is completed by another statue of 土地婆 (Tǔdìpó), the Grandmother of the Soil and the Ground, a just and benevolent deity on the same rank as her husband. Sometimes she is a grudging old woman holding back her husband's benedictions, which was probably the reason why Li Jingkai decided to brake the rule by omitting her statue. The statue was completed in 1807.

毫笔洞 (Milli Pen Cave) is located on the lower level, 100 m to the west. It is 11 m high, 6 m wide, and 33 m long. It contains a statue of 魁星 (Kui Xing) riding on an oarfish. 20 m to the west is 墨池洞 (Mochi Cave), which is 9 m high, 8 m wide and 18 m long. It contains three statues, 15 stone carvings, three ink inscriptions, and many poems. One of the statues inside the cave shows Wenchang.

虎龙洞 (Tiger Dragon Cave) is rather large, 11 m high, 5 m wide, and 28 m long. Completed in 1801 the cave contains sculptures of four famous figures from the Yao and Shun periods of Chinese history, namely Tang Yao, Houji, Qi and Gaotao. There are 17 stone carvings of poems.

The caves are located in the Zhangjiajie Scenic Area, a natural park which has multiple sandstone and limestone formations. There are lean rock towers, grottoes and caves, natural bridges and stone forests. There is an entrance fee for the scenic area but not for the cave itself. The caves are called 张家界玉皇洞 (Zhangjiajie Yuhuang Cave) to distinguish them from the other Yuhuang Caves, as this is a quite popular name. They are also called 玉皇洞石窟 (Yuhuang Cave Grotto), which is rather weird as cave and grotto are almost synonyms. The caves are located at the southern foot of 麻空山 (Makong Mountain).