The front gate of the Babaoshan Revolutionary Cemetery. [Photo/Qianlong]
Babaoshan or the Eight-Treasures Mountain is a cemetery many Beijingers stays and will stay after death. To many locals it is a solemn and respectable place. But how its name comes into being? Are there eight treasures for real in the cemetery?
Babaoshan, just as its name implies, does have eight treasures. The mountain yields eight kinds of soils used as building materials is the most popular and supportable answer. But the following legend about origin of its name also shed lights on what was good or evil in the Chinese mind.
It was a long time ago, in a cave at the foot of Babaoshan were hidden a golden cow, a golden horse, a golden chicken, a golden roller, a golden millstone, golden beans, a golden beanstalk and a golden basket. But no one even knew their existence.
Li and his wife lived at the foot of the Babaoshan. They were in their senior age and had no child. The kind-hearted couples lived on planting towel gourds. In one year, they planted the towel gourds as usual as in the past without a single step left out. But only seedling grew instead of fruit, which worried the old couples a lot. Nevertheless, little does one think, some time later, a flower blossomed from a deep-buried seedling, then a calabash-shape towel gourds was born.
One day after several days past, the old couples were relaxing at the gate of their home, worrying about their life of the year. A man of Taoist-priest-look stopped at the gate abruptly when he saw the towel gourd. He made a bow with hands folded in the front to the old couples and said he wanted to buy the towel gourd. The old couples felt awkward because they had to use the one as seeds for the next year. The man perceived their difficulties and said he had to buy the towel gourd as a medicine for healing his grandson. Hearing the words, the couples agreed to give it for free and made an fetching appointment with that man when the towel gourd was ripe.
After the man’s leaving, the old couples diligently took care of the towel gourd. The autumn came earlier that year, so they picked it so as to prevent it from freezing off.
In the evening of September 8, the man came to visit and found out that the towel gourd had been already picked, “Gosh, you picked them too early, it won’t work this time,” he sighed as he fetched it and left. The old couples felt queer and followed the man to the foot of the hill in the hope to discover what the man exactly wanted to do.
The man came to a slope facing the sun, use the towel gourd as a pen to draw a circle on a big stone. As a golden streak of light gave out, the stone turned into a gate, but the door of it opened just a crack. The old couples saw it was full of treasures inside. There were a golden cow, a golden horse and a golden cock as well as a golden basket and a golden beanstalk. A golden roller by the door was rolling while some golden beans was falling down from the golden millstone. The man soliloquized:”it’s such a pity it was picked that early, otherwise, I can enter the cave! ” He put his hands into it to get the beanstalk but he couldn’t take it out because the crack was too narrow. At this moment, the golden cock came to crow, “No good!” the man said, throwing away the beanstalk quickly and grasping a handful of golden beans. As he was taking them out, Li came up to slap him on his arm, all the bean fell back into the cave and in no time, the door was closed. The man dressed as a Taoist priest knew he was in the wrong, and escaped. From then on, the eight treasures that were buried at the foot of the Babaoshan was widely known. But no one could fetch them out. So the mountain was named after them as Babaoshan.
If you go:
Take Subway Line 1 and get off at the Babaoshan Station or take bus lines 337, 373, 389, 527, 620, 728, 941, Yuntong 120 and get off at the Babaoshan Stop.
Admission fee: free
Gravestones are seen in the Babaoshan Revolutionary Cemetery. [Photo/Qianlong]
Rockeries in the Babaoshan Revolutionary Cemetery. [Photo/Qianlong]
A view from the south slope of the Babaoshan. [Photo/Qianlong]
A tablet with Chinese characters of Babaoshan. [Photo/Qianlong]
Entrance of a tomb area in the Babaoshan. [Photo/Qianlong]
Pavilions are seen in the Babaoshan Cemetery. [Photo/Qianlong]
A snapshot in the Babaoshan Cemetery. [Photo/Qianlong]