1. Human Activity，Cultural Heritage and Archeology
1. Human Activity
Archeology discoveries indicate that there lived human beings in the geopark area in the Neolithic Time 6000 years ago. Discoveries of a great number of stone wares, like stone knives, piercing tools, stone spears, stone axes and stone adzes in the Neolithic Site in Hetan of Guixi City, show that civilization at that time was advanced.
In Guifeng and Xiangshan areas in Yiyang County, a large number of pottery pieces are discovered by the side of stone adzes, stone arrows, stone chisels and stone knives. Patterns on these pottery pieces include cloud pattern, thunder pattern, nerve pattern, banana leaf pattern, string pattern and tartan pattern, which means a further developed civilization.
Construction of irrigation works began in Ming Dynasty (1368~1644). There had been built 569 ponds or dams during 1654~1722 in Qing Dynasty. During 1856~1875, there were added 68 ponds or dams, which made the irrigation area 2185 km2. In 1911~1949 there were 12 reservoirs or dams registered, beneficial to 4.7 km2 farmland. After 1949, there has been large-scale, wise and longtime water conservancy. By the year of 1990 there have been 11059 irrigation works to serve 91% of the farmland.
Mining and refining both have a long history in the geopark area. Copper mining started in Tang Dynasty (618~907.A.D). Iron refining in Song Dynasty (960~1279.A.D) had been very developed, the yearly yield in Guixi at that time reaching 6500 kilos. Silver, lead and zinc mining appeared in Ming Dynasty. There is an over 1000 meters long tunnel left inside the site of Yinluling Mine Ruins. Ancient kilns from Ming Dynasty are more than 100, in which there lots of traces of porcelain or pottery firing. In Yiyang, ancient city walls can be seen in many places.
After the foundation of the People’s Republic of China, geological prospecting, mining and refining got a rapid development, which provided an important resource support to the local, regional and national economic advance. 24 minerals like silver, zinc, lead, gold, rare-earth, copper, ferrum were found inside and outside of the geopark. There is the most famous silver mine across China, Lengshuikeng Silver Mine, the hardest silica mine in Jiangxi Province, the national largest copper refining plant, Guixi Refining Factory, in which annual output of copper is 86 thousand tons (a quarter to the domestic total output), and the byproducts, silver and gold, are 35.2 tons and 21 tons respectively.
2. Cultural Heritage
There present a multiculturalism in the geopark, which involves Taoism, Buddhism and Confucianism. It is Mt. Longhusan where the Chinese Taoism originated. It is the center of Zhengyi Taoistic School with grand Zhengyi Temple, Shangqing Palace and Heavenly Master Mansion. In the medium term of East Han Dynasty (25~220.A.D.), ZHANG Daoling, Father of Taoism, also called Heavenly Master, who kept his alchemy for pills of immortality ongoing for 37 years in Mt. Longhushan, created Taoism and passed it down for 63 generations in more than 1900 years. It becomes the Taoistic School with the longest passing-down history so that Mt. Longhushan is called the First Mountain of Taoism. During the period when Taoism is the most popular, in Mt. Longhushan there were 18 Taoistic palaces, 81 temples and 36 Taoisitc schools. The most well-preserved architecture is Shangqing Palace (Photo.3-9), which was initially built in East Han Dynasty and was the place where ‘the divinities accepted their titles’ in folk story. The Well for Suppressing Demons in the palace was cited in Outlaws of the Marshes, one of the most well-known Chinese literature classics, as the origin of the 108 heroes and heroines in the story.
As a cave temple, Nanyan Temple (Photo.3-10) built in Dang Dynasty to Song Dynasty is one of the cradles of Nanchan School in Buddhism. Early in Jin Dynasty (265-420.A.D), there had been monks cultivate themselves according to the Buddhist doctrines. Being worshiped by Buddhists for thousands of years, Nanyan Temple has become very famous in south of the lower reaches of the Yangtze River. It is 70m wide, 30m high and extends 30 inwards. There are 40 stone niches and over 10 stone carvings (Photo.3-11) extant in the cave, which is the largest Buddhist grotto cut in a natural cave. Statues of Buddha in the niches combine the beauty of Buddhism and aesthetics, serving as an important resource to research the dissemination of Buddhism in China, Buddhist culture and stone-carving art.
MA Zudao, a dignitary monk in Dang Dynasty, made use of the Danxia caves in Mazuyan to promulgate the Buddhist doctrines. The audience was crowded, which made a story in the history of Buddhism. Mazuyan has become an important Buddhist culture view in China.
LU Jiuyuan, an eminent Confucianist in South Song Dynasty (1127~1279)，gave lectures in Mt.Yingtian and established the Xiangshan School (Photo.3-12), which was one of the four biggest schools in South Song Dynasty.
In addition, there are a great number of ancient architectures, rare cultural ruins and relics in aspects of religion, philosophy theories, arts and architecture, which is in high value for study of Chinese history and culture.
The culture of Cliff Grave in the world initially appeared in Mt. Longhushan. It used to be a custom of the ancient Yue people who lived in Mt. Longhushan 2600 years ago. There are over 200 cliff grave sites distributing in 50 km2. Such concentrated distribution is a miracle known by home and abroad. How the ancient Yue people elevated those heavy coffins (each nearly 500 kilos in weight) and placed them in the steep cliffs is still a mystery. Belongings in those coffins are various. Just in the 37 coffins dug out of 14 sites, more than 250 wares made by wood, bamboo, pottery, porcelain or bones are discovered. Among the discoveries, a musical instrument with 13 strings (Photo.3-13) has made the history of stringed music in China 700 years earlier; components of an oblique-weaving loom (Photo.3-14) push the history of weaving high-quality silk cloth in China from East Han Dynasty (25-220. A.D) back to the Spring and Autumn Period (770.B.C-447.B.C), which caused a greatest focus in the archeology fields of home and abroad.