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Ancient Taoist Medicine Bottles Found

Dozens of exquisite medicine bottles have been discovered in a bird nest in Huanglong Cave on Wudang Mountain, a famous Taoist resort in central China's Hubei Province.


Words on the bottles showed they were used to store eye medicines during the Song Dynasty (960-1279), Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) and Qing Dynasty (1644-1911).


A board, 127 centimeters long and 56 centimeters wide, was found in a pavilion below the grotto, which specifies functions of eye medicines made by a Taoist named Yunxia, explaining they could cure 72 kinds of eye sicknesses, including cataracts presbyopia and tearing in the wind. The advertisement also informed buyers to pay the exact fees listed, since the "sacred cave is far above and words can hardly be heard".


According to historical records, Yunxia died in 928, as the eighth-generation leader of the famous Danding Taoist genre in Wudang Mountain, which was the earliest Taoist genre on the mountain.


Nine out of ten Taoists were doctors, said 83-year-old Zhu Huaying, who claimed to be a disciple of the Danding Taoist genre.


In history, Taoists near Huanglong Cave were famous for prescribing medicines, according to local archeologists in charge of the relics in Wudang Mountain.


Huanglong Cave lies on a cliff about 300 meters from the pavilion, in which is set a statue which Taoists respected as "King of Medicines".


Beneath the cave lies a pavilion with the inscription, "Huanglong Cave".


"Ancient Taoists in the cave would drop a rope with a basket into the pavilion. If tourists wanted to buy the medicines, they would put enough money into the basket and pull the rope hard to inform the Taoists above that someone below wanted to buy medicines. After the basket went up with money, it would soon return with medicines and that's why the advertising said the sacred cave was far above and words could not be heard," Zhu said.
(Xinhua News Agency July 22, 2003)



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