Immemorial Memory of Cultural Remains (Part Two)

  • offcial website of Beijing Expo 2019  2016-Jun-1 11:36:52

Tracing to the Source of Guihe River

Northwards beyond the huge fortress of Badaling Great Wall is the Summer Resort Yanqing. There, like a white ribbon, Guihe River is fluttering in the emerald green plain. The River is Mother River of Yanqing, and its source from Songshan Nature Reserve is flanked by mountains. It meanders along the mountains from the east through Longqing Valley where it makes its way past Guichuan around Kangxi Grassland and into Guanting Reservoir. Slithering and winding for over a hundred li, and the river, conceiving with the essence of mountains, is complimented by people of the successive dynasties.

“Guishui”, also known as Canghe, Qingyishui at ancient times, is an inland river in Yanqing County of Yongding River water system. Guihe River had been the ancient name of a river in Yongji County, Shanxi Province. The origination of character “Gui” goes back to Yan and Yellow Emperors, and it has lingering historic and cultural implications. “Gui” had once been one of the eight major surnames. Shangshu·Classics of Yao was the earliest record of Guihe River: “King Yao announced: I just test him! I’ll marry my two daughters to Shun, to explore his moral character. Yao sent his two daughters to Guihe River, where they married Yu Shun”. Shun lived in Gui, which was called this way because of the river. According to Shiji (Historical Records) and Kuodizhi (Records of Geography), Guizhou, which was named after Guihe River and Gui Clan, was where Yu Shun married E Huang and Nü Ying. The name Guizhou was made after the War of Banquan between Yellow Emperor and Yan Emperor. Legend has it that Yao married his daughter Gui to Shun in order to test the latter, who made Gui to work by the river. When Gui flied heavenward, she undid her belt, which turned into the river. “Guishui” is the formal name of the river, while “Guichuan” is the name of the entire Guishui River Basin.

In the 29th year of King Zhao of Yan (B.C. 283), Shanggu Prefecture to which Yanqing was affiliated, was set up. When the Seven Kingdoms became one great nation, First Emperor of Qin set up thirty six prefectures. Yanqing to which Juyong County and Shanglan County were affiliated, was still part of Shanggu Prefecture. When Shanggu Prefecture was restored in Western Han Dynasty, Juyong County and Yiyu County were set up in Yanqing. In the Eighth Year of Zhenguan of Tang Dynasty (A.D. 634), the place was named after Guishui as Guizhou. In the second year of Chang’an of Empress Wu (A.D. 702), Guizhou had authority over Qingyijun. In the first year of Tianbao Reign of Tang Dynasty (A.D. 742), the place changed its name to Guichuan Prefecture, which changed back to Guizhou in the First Year of Emperor Qianyuan in Tang Dynasty (A.D. 758). Guizhou governed Huairong County and Guichuan County, and had authority range over what are now Xuanhua, Zhuolu and Huailai in Hebei Province. Huairong County, the former Pan County in Later Han Dynasty, changed this way in the Northern Qi Dynasty (550-577). Before the second year of Chang’an of Tang Dynasty, Huairong County, with its capital in what is now Baodai Town, was under the jurisdiction of the Guizhou Prefecture. In Tianbao Reign of Tang Dynasty, Guichuan County had authority over Qingyijun, which was part of Huairong County, for a short duration. When the central capital of Jin (now Beijing) was breached by the Mongolian troop on the second day of the fifth month of the tenth year of the First Emperor of Mongolia (A.D. 1215), the name Guizhou was gone. The name, together with that of Guishui, had traversed from Baodai County, Zhuolu City, Hebei Province to Qingyijun and then to Yanqing.

The name “Guichuan” came into extensive use to include Guichuan County and Guichuan Prefecture. Shi Siming, the most trusted follower of An Qingxu, the son of An Lushan, was anointed as “Prince of Guichuan”. The source of Guishui River (or Guihe River), also known as Canghe or Qingyishui in ancient times, runs from Huanglongtan, Shangmo Village, Yongning County. Xinhuaying River, its source from west of Dajixiang Village, Sihai Town, Qingquanpu River and Qinglongtan River converge in Yongning County and flow into Guihe River, which runs westward across Yanqing Basin into Guanting Reservoir.

1,500 years ago, Li Daoyuan of Northern Wei had been down at the scene. Splendid words were written on his Shui Jing Zhu (Notes to the Classic of Rivers). The rulers of Jin and Yuan, obsessed with the lovely landscape, lingered here and lost track of time. In Ming and Qing Dynasties, Guichuan was a tourist resort. Scholars and celebrities beat a path to the place, their paeans of praise narrated by the masses. At the time, Guihe River was honored as top of the Eight Sceneries in Yanqing.

The setting up of Guichuan about 200 years after Northern Qi abandoned Juyong County was the time when Yanqing started as a county.

Later, Jinshan County was established in the eastern side of Guichuan. Not long after, An Shi Zhi Luan (the rebellion of An Lushan and Shi Siming) took place. This, together with the challenges posed by warlords later, which lasted for a century or more, had rendered little historic records for Guichuan. Nevertheless, Guichuan’s influence on the history of Yanqing had taken hold.

Guichuan, with lush land and mountains and rivers in nature’s bosom, is productive with agreeable climate. The Great Wall built in past dynasties and the mechanisms in the fortress found throughout the mountains in the south and the north were once strongly armed. The location of Guichuan was of great significance to the separatist warlords in Youzhou, who, in league with the ethnic minorities northwards, marched south in an attempt to dominate. Guichuan had become a base area for manpower and material.

Yanqing manifests its beauty in Guihe River, while the beauty of Guihe River, the so-called “Oriental Rhine”, is manifested between two rivers. Upriver, the mist-covered Jinniu River is lovely and charming. Water surface of nearly a thousand mu resembling the head of a dragon moves Guishui westward.

Downriver, Guishui Lake is in all a fine replica of the tail of a dragon. In between, Guishui, like a flying dragon frolicking in Guichuan of vibrant green, lines up the two rivers head to tail. Being taken downriver by a little boat, you visit reclusive places alongside the meandering path. The pleasure will be highlighted. When you get lost in the splendid landscape, your imagination is stirred further into the innermost depths of nature’s heart.

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