Lingshan Islamic Cemetery, Quanzhou

One of Quanzhou's sites, mentioned in all guidebooks, but, as it seems, rarely visited by anyone, is the city's Islamic cemetery on Lingshan Mountain (灵山伊斯兰教圣墓). It is somewhat away from the city center, but I stayed nearby, and I went there for a walk. The admission charge is nominal (something like 3 yuan).

As usual, all images are clickable.


My self-guided tour of the place started in a fairly expected way, with the tombs of two famous mediaeval missionaries. Same Islamic sarcophagus-shaped tombs, covered with green fabric covers, as you'd see in any dignitary's mausoleum in Istanbul or Kashgar:

The tombs of the Two Worthies...

... and a stele to go with them.

The walk goes up to the hill next.

A view of Quanzhou's new sections from Lingshan Mountain

The famous "Balancing Rock"

As de Groot described in details a century ago, the traditional tomb style of coastal Fujian is a so called turtle-back tomb: basically, a grave mound in the form of a turtle's carapace, surrounded by a horseshoe-shaped (or, rather, Ω-shaped) ridge. There are apparently complicated feng shui reasons beyond this design. I had seen plenty of tombs like this on an earlier ride along the coast to Hui'an County; however I had not quite expected to encounter them in an Islamic cemetery. However...

A typical turtle-shaped tomb here, none the worse for the wear.

In case you have any doubts that the designers indeed had a turtle in mind...

Same turtle, front view

And another one

A low-budget "turtle".

Hu is buried here.

One, however, did not have to go either for the "Islamic feel" or for the "Fujian feel". One could mix and match:

This, apparently, is a hybrid design of sorts: an Islamic enough tomb in the middle, surrounded by a horseshoe-shaped (or Omega-shaped) embankment characteristic for the coastal Fujian.

The more modern section of the cemetery has large family (clan) sections.

This area is for the Ding (丁) clan.

The ability to mix and match in Quanzhou goes beyond the tomb design.

Apparently, being Christian (see the cross on the second tombstone from the right) does not prevent one from being buried at the city's Islamic cemetery, if you come from the right family.

Another apparently Christian tomb.

[Next: Quanzhou as seen by its stone turtles] - 2012-02-26 -

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for this short tour! I was interested in looking more into this Cemetery and this helped me.