Guichuan Jade Pearl, Ancient Town Cultures (Part Two)

  • offcial website of Beijing Expo 2019 2016-06-06 10:09:30

Huanglong Ancient Temple

Shangmo Village was called this way since it had three water powered mills, of which the northernmost one was called Shangshuimo. Huanglong Tan, which was called Longquan in ancient times, was on the eastern edge of the village. As early as Liao Dynasty, the Royal Garden was built. The History of Liao· Chronicles of Shengzong recorded: In the 4th month of the 7th year of Emperor Tonghe of Liao (A.D. 989), Emperor Shengzong and Empress Xiao Chuo stayed overnight in “Ruzhou Longquan”. With many springs, water spilled over and forms a pond. The pond, overgrown with reeds, was one of the sources of Guihe River. In the first year of Zhizhi, Yingzong of Yuan Dynasty (A.D. 1321), the Liubeichi Palace was built here.

“In large temples bazaars are held, in small temples people kowtow.” In Yongning Town, temple bazaars lasted from the 3rd day in March lunar month to the end of autumn harvest. Each temple bazaar had its own characteristics, including commodity exchanges and a variety of cultural and recreational activities like drama, acrobatics, opera narration and flower lottery. The bazaars, of which held in Huanglong Tan was the most influential, promoting economic development and enriching the cultural lives of people.

To the west of Huanglong Tan was the Huanglong Temple which was built during the reign of Emperor Wanli of Ming Dynasty. The temple used to have 13 signboards of Ming and Qing Dynasties, of which the ones glided with gold characters “Huang Long Gu Tan” and “Ze Zhou Shang Gu” were Imperial treasures of Emperors Qianlong and Guangxu of Qing Dynasty. Huanglong Tan Temple Bazaar was held from the 28th to the 30th day of the 4th lunar month. Traders, artist, fellow townsmen, tourists and pilgrims gather to engage in acting and trading activities, which was solemn. Beijing Opera, Heibei Opera and Shanxi Opera were in progress on the stage opposite to Huanglong Temple. On the 28th day of the 4th lunar month, the place was alive with people worshipping and making vows, going to the fair, tasting delicacies, watching operas, clustering around street-corner storytellers.

The “Jiu Qu Huang He Deng” Lantern Fair was also held here. The spot of the fair, with an area of 1.5 mu, was a meandering lane made of stockpile of stalks. The array of lanterns resembled a labyrinth. There were 365 lanterns in the lane, as a symbol of 365 days of a year. Watching from a distance at night, the fair, which was breathtakingly beautiful, shined and twinkled like the star-dotted sky.

Forgotten Mercy of the Phoenix: Liugou Ancient Town

Liugou, known as phoenix town in ancient times, located in the middle of Jingzhuang Town, Yanqing County. The place was in a vast expanse of land sandwiched between Jiulong Mountain in the west and Yanyu Mountain in the east. According to Xuan Zhen Tu Shuo (Illustrative Handbook of Xuan Town), “To the southwest of Liugou is Shahe. The northeast is smooth, connects Nanshan and the central area. 20 li westwards is Duijiushi, which is accessible to the three major Passes: Desheng, Xianzhuang and Huiling. Liugou, southwest connecting with Chadao and northeast leading to Yongning, stands guard over a vast expanse of territory. The place, with dense forests, is critically guarded as a key area.”

The significance of Liugou in history was on a par with Badaling and Chadao Town. The construction of Liugou, which located behind the Imperial Mausoleum, was inextricably linked to the deteriorating of northern frontier defense in Ming Dynasty. The rankings of civil and military officials set were progressively higher, with the expanding of jurisdiction scope. In the 5th month of the 22nd year of Jiajing Reign (A.D. 1543), the building of Liugou Town was launched. In the 30th year of Jiajing Reign (A.D. 1551), the post of Liugou Watch, together with the Watcher’s Office, was created. With the deterioration in the frontier, Xuanzhen Nanshan Road General was created on the basis of East Xuanfu Military Area to manage the fortresses in Chadao, Liugou, Yulin Sanbao and Nanshan. The number of men in the garrison had once exceeded 1,290. In the 16th year of Emperor Chongzhen (A.D. 1643), Commander General of Linghou was set in Liugou, with the realm of governance reaching Yulin and Chadao in the west and Sihaiye in the east. The Vice Commander General was set in Yulin. Liugou became the place where military officers of the highest ranking in Yanqing stationed at that time.

In Ming and Qing Dynasties, the town was the busiest and the most prosperous. It had shops, pawnshops, morning markets and temples. On holidays, temple bazaars, lantern and flower fairs thrived. In late Ming and early Qing Dynasty, the yamen and military installations were removed.

The historic site of walls and city gates remained in Liugou Ancient Town, and the total area was 6,300 square meters. There were 18 ancient temples in the town, of which the City God Temple (historic site only) was the biggest. There were many ancient wells and trees in the village. The Great Wall ruins beyond the border could be found in Jiulong Mountain west of the village, with outlines of the walls and beacon towers easily identifiable.

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