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TUNG HAI-CH'UAN 's TOMB

All images are thumbnails click to enlarge.


Wan An Cemetery on the
western outskirts of Beijing
Tung Hai Ch'uan (or Dong Hai Chuan) was the originator of Baguazhang. He died in 1882. He was originally buried near The Red Bridge just outside Beijing's East Gate. A single stele was placed there by his students in 1883. A second stone was added by Bagua practitioners in 1905. On March 21st, 1930, a group led by Master Ma Kuei placed two more steles at the site. Before he died, Master Tung had written a poem to designate the names for the next 20 generations of his lineage. One of these new stones contained the generation names created by Tung. During The Cultural Revolution in the 1960's, the monuments were knocked down and buried. They remained underground for 17 years
In 1980 the area was slated for development. A group of martial artists who secretly knew where the grave was, saved it from being lost under a housing project. Li Tzu-Ming, K'ang Ko-Wu and others unearthed the stones and placed them in front of the Beijing Physical Education College's Wushu Arena. Then in 1981 the four steles and the body were moved to the Beijing Wan An Public Cemetery on the city's far westside.
The new monument erected here consisted of three parts: a small wall in the front with three stones on the front and three on the back, a center octagon with Tung's remains, and a large wall in the back into which the original four stones were inlaid. In June of 1991, another stele was placed next to the tomb reflecting the lineage as it has spread to Korea. Over time more stones have been added by Bagua players to show respect.

Waiting for admittance
The tomb has always had great attraction for Bagua practitioners, and many martial artists have visited Master Tung's gravesite since 1882. During our recent trip to China we made sure to pay a visit to the Wan An Public Cemetery. We arrived there on a Wednesday at 5:30pm. What we didn't know was that it closes at 3:30. Master Yang convinced the caretakers to let us in for a brief visit to Tung's tomb.
The cemetery is quite large and peaceful. We had a pleasant stroll to the back corner where the tomb is located. The gravesite itself is not well cared for; there are weeds growing from it and a compost pile nearby.

Looking a bit run down these days
Tung's Tomb
Front wall
All images are thumbnails click to enlarge.

Eight-sided tomb containing remains
The octagonal central tomb has one of the eight trigrams on each side. Below these are listed the names of Bagua practitioners who were involved with the tomb's reconstruction.

Back wall containing four "original" steles
The original stone is third from the left in the photo to the left. It was placed by Tung's students in 1883. It gives Tung's name and a short biographical narrative of his life. It says in part that he learned martial arts from a Taoist priest, lived in the palace with Prince Su and later taught many students. Also on this stone is a list of 66 of Tung's students.

Many newer monuments nearby
The Korean stele placed in March of 1991 can be seen on the far left. It documents the art of Bagua as it has spread to Korea. The first name on the stone is Lu Shui Tien, who fled China during the Sino-Japanese War. The last names are those of Park Bok Nam, his students, and his Bagua nephews. Another newer stone can be seen partly obscured by the small evergreen tree. It was placed on Oct. 14, 1994 in memory of Wang Shu Jin. The newest addition is in the foreground.

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