The Iman Foundation

Iman Foundation's Cultural Diplomacy in China

Monday, 13 May 2013

Iman Chairman, Ribal Al-Assad and President of Iman for China, H.E. Ambassador Li Qingyu, have taken part in an official visit to Anyang and Kaifeng in Eastern China.

During the visit the delegates met a range of government officials and cultural leaders including:

• Su Baomin, the Deputy Secretary of Municipal Government.

• Song Jiansheng, Vice-Chairman of Municipal Political Consultative Conference.

• Qin Jianhua, Director of Foreign&Overseas Chinese Affairs of Anyang Municipal People's Government.

• Guo Huaisheng, Deputy-Director of Anyang Foreign & Overseas Chinese Affairs.

• Sang Jun, Vice-Bureau Director of Municipal Department of Statistics.

• Liu Xijin, Bureau-Director of Tourist Administration of Anyang.

• Guan Ji’en, the president of Huanshui Bay Hotel.

• Liu Ying, Deputy-Director of Anyang Foreign & Overseas Chinese Affairs.

The itinerary included visits to the Youlicheng Relics, the Tomb of Cao Cao, the Yue Fei Temple and the Yin Ruins Museum.

Commenting on the visit, Ribal Al-Assad said:

“Our visit to Anyang allowed us to explore the rich heritage of China and our discussion on cultural diplomacy -and the resulting exchange of views- provided an opportunity to learn about where each others beliefs and ideals are anchored.

The visit also showed how an appreciation of an individual’s cultural history leads to an understanding of their socio-political perspective. The importance of cultural dialogue in today’s world must not be underestimated and I encourage anyone who has not visited this vibrant region to do so.

There is however so much more we can learn from China and the Iman Foundation will certainly be looking to increase its footprint in China over the coming year. I extend my thanks to all those who made this visit possible.”

More information on the history of Anyang and Kaifeng can be found below.

Anyang city is an ancient city with a history of over 3,000 years and is one of the Eight Ancient Capitals of China. It is one of the key birthplaces of Chinese ancient culture. Here are the primitive caves of 25,000 years ago, the overlapping strata of the Yangshao Culture,Longshan Culture and Xiaotun Culture, the memorial mausoleums of ancient Emperor Zhuanxu and Emperor Ku over 4,000 years ago, the first library of inscriptions on bones and tortoise shells, the Soul Spring Temple, known as the "First Ancient Buddhist Temple in Henan", and 10,000-Buddha Ravine, as well as unique Wenfeng Pagoda, Xiuding Temple Pagoda and Mingfu Temple Pagoda. Anyang also has beautiful natural scenery—the Taihang Linlu Hill Scenic Area on the 400-kilometer Taihang Mountains and the grand 1,500-kilometer Red Flag Canal.

Tianning Si (Mansion Temple) was established during the Zhou dynasty, and has recently been restored by the Protection and Research Institute of Ancient Architecture of Anyang City, and opened to the public. The main structures within the temple compound include: the gate house, the three-room (8.4m x 14m) Hall of the Heavenly King with hanging-eaves over the gables rebuilt in 2002, the slightly larger (17.8m x 11.65m) Precious Hall of the Great Hero with single-eave gabled roof originally from the Qing dynasty and rebuilt in 2001, and the Wenfeng Pagoda.

Wenfeng Ta (Literature Peak Pagoda) on the grounds of the Tianning Temple is believed to have been constructed in 925 and is known, from inscriptions concerning the reconstruction of the temple, to have been in place by 952. The current pagoda was constructed during the Ming Dynasty and received its current name during the Qing Dynasty due to its proximity to the Confucian temple. The five-story dark red brick octagonal tower is 38.65m high and is, unusually, larger at the top than the bottom and is topped with a 10m Lamaist stupa-style dagoba steeple. The pagoda stands on two-metre-high stone pedestal and is decorated with multi-eave pent roofs and carvings of Buddhas and bodhisattvas. The unique pagoda is the symbol of Anyang.

Yinxu Ruin area Located about 2 km (1.2 mi) northwest of Anyang are the ruins of the Shang Dynasty capital known as Yin. This massive archaeological site was discovered in 1899, excavated in the decades that followed, and first opened to the public in the 1980s as the Garden Museum of Yinxu. The current museum was opened on 16 March 2005, and includes the famous Tomb of Fu Hao. The site is inscribed on theUNESCO list of World Heritage Sites.

Xiaonanhai, on the far western edge of the city, was home to prehistoric cavemen during the Stone Age. Over 7,000 artifacts (including stone tools and animal bone fossils) have been unearthed here, representing what has been dubbed the Xiaonanhai culture.

Around 2000 BC, the legendary sage-kings Zhuanxu and Emperor Ku are said to have established their capitals in the area around Anyang from where they ruled their kingdoms. Their mausoleums are today situated in Sanyang village south of Neihuang County.

At the beginning of the 14th century BC, King Pangeng of the Shang Dynasty established his capital 2 km (1.2 mi) north of the modern city on the banks of the Huan River. The city, known as Yin, was the first stable capital in Chinese history and from that point on the dynasty that founded it would also become known as the Yin Dynasty.

The capital served 12 kings in 8 generations including Wu Ding, under whom the dynasty reached the zenith of its power, until it was wiped out along with the dynasty that founded it by King Wu of the Zhou in 1046 BC.

Anyang's Tangyin County was the seat of Yue Village, birthplace of the famous Song Dynasty general, Yue Fei. This was also the historic home of Zhou Tong, Yue's military arts tutor (though fictional sources place him in Shaanxi).

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