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Bailudong (White Deer Grotto) Academy

( chinaculture.org )

Updated: 2011-09-13

Bailudong (White Deer Grotto) Academy
Entrance of the Bailudong (White Deer Grotto) Academy

The Bailudong (White Deer Grotto) Academy is located at the southern foot of Houping Mountain, 10 kilometers south of the Wulao Peak of Lushan Mountain, Jiangxi province.

During the Tang Dynasty (AD 618-907), Li Bo and his brother settled there in seclusion. After being appointed governor of Jiangzhou prefecture, Li revisited the site and ordered the construction of buildings and pavilions. The site then became a tourist attraction named Bailudong. During the early Song Dynasty (AD 960-1279) it was extended to include an academy and was formally called Bailudong Academy.

As the first comprehensive academy in Chinese history, the Bailudong Academy was reputed as one of the Four Academies in China along with the Yuelu Academy, Juyang Academy and Shigu Academy. It was destroyed in wars during the late Northern Song Dynasty (AD 960-1127) and then restored in 1179 in the Southern Song Dynasty (AD 1127-1279). Many renowned scholars of the Song Dynasty, such as Zhu Xi, gave classes at the academy. The present construction was built during Emperor Daoguang's reign of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911).

Bailudong (White Deer Grotto) Academy
It is the first comprehensive academy in the Chinese history.

Main constructions at the academy include the Lingxing Gate, Banchi, Lisheng Gate, Lisheng Hall, Zhuzi Temple, Bailudong and the Imperial Writing Pavilion. The Zhuzi Temple was built to commemorate Zhu Xi. In the back of the temple was a cave with a stone white deer lying in it. Over 120 stone tablets were erected in the Zhuzi Temple. Inscriptions carved on the tablets include the handwriting of Zhu Xi. The inscriptions are not only examples of precious calligraphy but also include rare historical data. In front of the Zhuzi Temple, a two-storied pavilion was built across from the Lisheng Hall. The pavilion was built after Emperor Kangxi bestowed a horizontal tablet to the academy named the Imperial Writing Pavilion. To the northwest of the Lingxing Gate is a winding path leading to a peaceful place full of hills, forests and springs.

Bailudong (White Deer Grotto) Academy
The academy covered in snow

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