Escaping the Imperial Edict Cliff on the South Peak of the Mt.Huashan

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The cliff is situated to the northwest of the Southern Heavenly Gate. On the cliff is a small cave engraved with “Bi Zhao Yan (Escaping the Imperial Edict Cliff)” at the upper area of its entrance. It’s said that these characters were engraved by Chen Tuan.

Chen Tuan was a Taoist sage born at the end of the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms Period. He was also said to be familiar with Confucius’ classics, history, geology and various schools of thoughts. Emperor Taizu and Emperor Taizong of the Northern Song Dynasty invited him to assist them to rule the country. However, he declined the emperors’ invitation and hid himself in a cave on a steep cliff on Mt. Huashan.

Emperor Taizong once ordered the local governors to persuade Chen Tuan. The local governors came to visit Chen Tuan with precious gifts and the emperor’s imperial edict. Chen didn’t see them and pled the governors to acquaint the emperor that he wouldn’t become an official. The Emperor Taizong knew that Chen Tuan had no attempt to assist him. Therefore, he conferred Chen Tuan the title of “Master Xiyi”, which meant “Master of Inaudible and Invisible”.
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