1545 meters above sea level, not the highest one among many famous mountains in China, Mount Tai is still regarded as the greatest of five sacred China mountains. It is said that 72 emperors came to Mount Taishan to offer sacrifices to heaven, and 12 emperors after the Qin Dynasty were recorded in history. They wrote praises on Mount Tai during the Fengshan ceremonies. Though there is not such kind of ritual anymore, the Fengshan Ceremony Show nowadays at the east mountain foot is like a time tunnel for visitors to trace back the glories of Mount Tai in ancient times.
What is Fengshan Ceremony?
Feng Shan or Feng-shan (Chinese: 封禅), also referred to as the Feng and Shan sacrifices, was an official rite offered by the “Son of Heaven” - the emperor to pay homage to heaven and earth. The sacrifices were usually offered at Mount Tai, the highest peak in the area. The emperor would pay homage to heaven (on the summit) and earth (at the foot of the mountain) in the Feng (to seal) and Shan (to clear away) sacrifices respectively. Completing Feng Shan allowed the emperor to receive the mandate of heaven.
According to the Records of the Grand Historian, Feng involved building altars out of the soil at the peak of Mt. Tai and proclaiming the merits and legitimacy of the emperor to the god of heaven. Shan involved clearing land at the foot of the mountain to show respect for the god of the earth.
Great Emperors Carried out Fengshan Ceremony on Mount Tai
Worship at Mount Tai began in prehistoric times and continued through the Zhou dynasty. In 219 BC, Qin Shihuang carried out what would come to be considered the first Feng and Shan sacrifices in celebration of uniting China. The second emperor to carry out the sacrifices was Emperor Wu of Han. Emperor Gaozong of Tang carried out the Feng and Shan sacrifices more times than any other emperor in Chinese history. Japan, India, the Persian court in exile, Goguryeo, Baekje, Silla, the Turks, Khotan, the Khmer, and the Umayyad Caliphate all had representatives attending the Feng and Shan sacrifices held by Emperor Gaozong of Tang in 666 at Mount Tai. The last emperor to carry out Feng and Shan sacrifices was Emperor Zhenzong of the Song dynasty. Later, emperors in the Qing dynasty would perform similar rites at Mount Tai.
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• Value: ★★★★★ • Performance: ★★★★★ • Technology: ★★★★
The large-scale live show "the ceremony of Fengchan in Mount Tai" is based on the fengshan events of Mount Tai during five representative dynasties of Qin, Han, Tang, Song, and Qing to represent the essence of each dynasty and Taishan culture, with historical stories of the rise and fall of the Chinese nation, and it truly reproduces the characteristics of political life, ancient Chinese society and the scene of emperor's offering. The performance consists of seven chapters: Prologue, golden spear and iron horse - Qin Dynasty, Confucian culture, and music - Han Dynasty, Prosperity - Tang Dynasty, Artistic Era - Song Dynasty, Kangxi and Qianlong period - Qing Dynasty, and the ending. The main stage is like a huge altar, with the lighting and the surrounding mountain and forest as the backdrop. The stage and the huge LED screen will successively present the chaos of ancient times of these ancient dynasties. The total duration of the performance is about 80 minutes. With over 500 performers, the performance is grand and magnificent in scale, integrated with beautiful music and the landscape changes of Mount Tai in four seasons.
• Features: live performance, panoramic natural landscape as the stage, intelligentized sound and lighting system, large-scale ca, rich visual and auditory experience
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• Prologue: An old deliveryman of Mount Tai carrying goods, hike slowly on the mountain road, and he encounters a group of young students along the mountain road. The old man takes a rest and starts to tell the students the stories and history of Mount Tai...
• The first act: golden spear and iron horse - Qin Dynasty: "Unification" is the core theme of the first scene. It presents the Fengshan ceremony of Qin Shihuang the first emperor unified China. The main ceremony of the king of Qin Shihuang was mainly military sacrifice. In the first act, you will see the Terracotta Army array, the majestic square array of the Qin army, and the first emperor of Qin proclaiming the unification to heaven and earth....
• The second act: Confucian culture and music - Han Dynasty: Since the Han Dynasty, Confucianism has become the dominant ideology under the Han emperors' rule over the country. In terms of ideology, Emperor Wu of Han implemented the policy of "ousting hundreds of schools of thought and respecting Confucianism alone". The theme of this act is the expression of "Confucianism" and "Shao music".
• The third act: Prosperity - Tang Dynasty: The Tang Dynasty is the most powerful dynasty in the history of China. "Openness and diversification" is the theme of this scene. The Fengshan ceremony of Emperor Gaozong of the Tang Dynasty is the largest and most brilliant one in history. A complete reproduction of a complete set of Royal ceremonial rituals is the highlight of this performance. A large number of envoys from various countries appear in the procession of Fengshan. They dress in distinctive national costumes and dance in various countries to show their respect for the civilization of the Tang Dynasty...
• The fourth act: Era of Art - Song Dynasty: During the Northern Song Dynasty, China's culture and art reach its brilliant peak, with all kinds of instruments, including music, chess, calligraphy and painting, poetry, song, architecture, finance, religion, and science, all of which are in the lead among all the nations in the world. This is the Fengchan of culture and art...
• The fifth act: Kangxi and Qianlong period - Qing Dynasty: During the prosperous period of Kangxi and Qianlong, the Qing Dynasty China gradually got rid of the narrow national view of only Han nationality. The rulers of the Qing Dynasty objectively promoted the status of ethnic minorities in the whole Chinese nation and led the Chinese nation to great national integration. "National integration" is the core theme of the fifth act. With the grand ceremony during the Kangxi and Qianlong period, the grand scene will push the performance to the final climax...
• The end: All the noise and music come back to silence. The old bearer continues the journey, carrying his goods to the top of the mountain step by step with the students to the top of Mount Tai....
▶ Performance time: 19:30 - 20:50 (April to March & October to November); 20:00 - 21:20 (May to September)
▶ Ticket: CNY 168 (Ticket B); CNY 238 (Ticket A), CNY 699 (天烛VIP Ticket), CNY 4999 (天烛SVIP Ticket) (Note: children taller than 1.2 meters need to purchase tickets)
▶ Location: east foot of Mount Tai, west of Aiwa village, dajinkou Township, Tai'an City (at the memorial archway of Tianzhufeng entrance) 泰安市大津口艾洼村天烛峰景区, about 24km away from Taian Railway Station, 15km from Taishan Railway Station, 12km from Hongmen Gate, 13km from Tianwaicun.
▶ How to Get There: you can also take the city bus No. 19 to Tianzhufeng stop. Also, there are direct tourist buses to the Fengshan Ceremony Night show departing from the entrance near Tianwaicun (天外村) and Xiaotianting (小天庭).
▶ Tips: 1. you shall arrive the performing site of Tianzhufeng at least 30min before it starts. 2. The temperature drops a lot at night in the mountain area. Please bring or wear an extra layer when watching the show. 3. Since it is an outdoor show, the actual performing time may be subject to change depending on the weather condition. 4. It will have a seasonal close-down in winter due to the cold weather, please contact us for the actual performing date.
▶ Book a Ticket in Advance: The tickets are limited and get easily sold out, especially in the peak season, and you may need to book the tickets in advance. However, the ticket booking system has not opened for any non-Chinese citizens yet and foreign visitors can only book tickets through a licensed China tour agency like us. Please do not hesitate to contact us for ticket booking help!
Fengshan Ceremony Seating Map
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