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Grotto-heavens (Chinese:洞天; Pinyin: Dongtian) are a type of sacred Daoist site. Grotto-heavens are usually caves, mountain hollows, or other underground spaces. Because every community was supposed to have access to at least one grotto, there were many of them all over China. They were first organized systematically in the Tang Dynasty by Sima Chengzhen and Du Guangting. [1] The most sacred of these sites were divided into two types: The ten greater grotto-heavens and the thirty-six lesser grotto-heavens.[2]

The ten greater grotto-heavens are as follows:

  • Wangwu shan grotto 王屋山 (Henan)
  • Weiyu shan grotto 委羽山 (Zhejiang)
  • Xicheng shan grotto 西城山 (Shanxi)
  • Xixuan shan grotto 西玄山 (Sichuan)
  • Qingcheng shan grotto 青城山 (part of Huashan, Shanxi)
  • Chicheng shan grotto 赤城山 (Guangdong)
  • Luofu shan grotto 罗浮山 (Zhejiang)
  • Gouqu shan grotto 句曲山 (Jiangsu, in Lake Tai)
  • Linwu shan grotto 林屋山 (on Maoshan, Jiangsu)
  • Kuocang shan grotto 括苍山 (Zhejiang)


  1. ^ Kohn (2000), p. 695.
  2. ^ Kohn (2000), p. 696.


  • Kohn, Livia, ed. Daoism Handbook (Leiden: Brill, 2000).


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