Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
In years past, the mountains of Wudang were known for the many Taoist monasteries to be found there, monasteries which became known as an academic centre for the research, teaching and practise of meditation, Chinese martial arts, traditional Chinese medicine, Taoist agriculture practises and related arts. The monasteries were emptied, damaged and then neglected during and after the cultural revolution of 1964-1978, but the Wudang mountains have lately become increasingly popular with tourists from elsewhere in China and abroad due to their scenic location and historical interest. The monasteries were made a UNESCO world heritage site in 1994. Attesting to the historical legacy, the most common souvenir sold to the recent influx of tourists at Wudang are cheaply made copies of the traditional Chinese straight sword, or jian.
The Wudang monasteries figure prominently in Chinese martial arts films, especially the genre known as wuxia film and popular literature. For example, an ending scene of the famous movie Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon by Taiwanese director Ang Lee was set at the Wudang monastery, although not actually filmed there. In some wuxia films about the Shaolin Temple, characters employing Wudang martial arts are featured as villains. It is in reference to this type of film that the American hip-hop group Wu-Tang Clan named themselves. In many martial arts movies, however, actors portraying Wudang practitioners are also found in heroic or neutral supporting roles.
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