Ge Hong (284 - 364), whose Taoist name is Baopuzi, was a noted alchemist, medical scientist and an important figure in Taoism during the Jin Dynasty (263-420) of China. He had written a considerable number of books about medicine which laid the solid foundation for the development of traditional Chinese medicine. ‘Baopuzi’, one of his most important works, describes alchemy in detail and also introduces his personal opinions on the aesthetics and literature that have influenced later generations. Other than these achievements Ge Hong also had some accomplishments in music and literature.
To modern people, alchemy is just something about smelting metals, but back in Ge Hong’s times, it was a mysterious thing and considered as a way to achieve immortality. Ge Hong, well known for his interest in alchemy and techniques of longevity, chose only places with picturesque scenery and serene environment to do the job, based on his theory that the natural environment can be helpful to make the so-called pills of immortality.
Ge Hill, a small hill in the west side of West Lake, is the place where Ge Hong spent years in seclusion and practicing alchemy. During the period, besides devoting most of his time to alchemy, he also picked herbs to treat the ill and to commemorate him, a temple was built in the Tang Dynasty (618-907) at the old site of Baopu Hut where Ge Hong lived and practiced alchemy and the hill itself had also been named after him.
Recently, the city of Hangzhou was advertised in The Wall Street Journal and USA Today, and the ten-thousand-people time travel record of Hangzhou’s Song Dynasty Town has also been publicized in New York’s Times Square.