March 14, 2010

anxun, situated in Huzhou City, is a famous historical and cultural town in Zhejiang Province. Facing Taihu Lake to the north, and only a half-hour drive from Suzhou, Nanxun enjoys splendid natural resources. With a history of over 700 years, Nanxun is also a place full of historical interests.
On the list of Records of Gardens South of the Lower Reaches of the Yangtze River is Nanxun, the only town containing a total of five large gardens. Nanxun boasts numerous historic sites and enchanting natural landscapes, and has both a rich cultural heritage as well as the poetic, waterside charm seen in areas along the Yangtze. Enjoying revered cultural and natural resources, Nanxun is known as the birthplace of many talented historical figures. During the Song, Ming and Qing dynasties, 41 successful candidates in the highest imperial examinations came out of Nanxun.
With a history of 1400 years, Nanxun has a long story to tell about its splendid days of yore. Nanxun was a blooming town in the Southern Song Dynasty and by the reign of Emperor Jiajin of the Ming Dynasty, about a half century ago, it became one of Zhejiang Province’s important commercial towns because of the development of the silk industry. Ancient poems refer to the town beautifully descriptive verse: “thousands of households gather here on this water town market, and fishing boats and merchant vessels call at it side by side.” and “At the night market, you can buy water bamboo shoots and lotus roots, and in spring ships carry silks and brocades…”

The town’s most famous structure is the 400-year-old Baijian Lou, literally meaning pavilion of 100 rooms, located in the town’s northeast corner.
Locals say the pavilion was constructed by a high-ranking Ming Dynasty official for his servants, and people were amazed for his generosity as they looked at the magnificent building with its 100 rooms.
Withstanding several centuries of war and turbulence, the buildings are amazingly well-preserved; stretching along 400 metres on both banks of the ancient canal which divides the town, the huge buildings still function as residences for locals.

Small, exquisite gardens are another special attraction of Nanxun, and Xiaolian Zhuang, or Liu’s Garden, is one that certainly should not be missed by visitors. It was once the private garden of Liu Yong, a senior Qing Dynasty official. The garden is over 17,000 square metres, highlighted by a 5,000 square metre lotus pond within the building’s centre. Tourists visiting the garden in summer are astonished by the pleasing green and red thickly dotted lotuses. Also noteworthy are several Chinese archways which had a role in ancient rituals to worship ancestors.

Nanxun is known as a once-prosperous commercial town and silk manufacturing centre in the modern history

March 14, 2010

Liuhe Pagoda (Chinese: 六和塔; pinyin: Liùhé Tǎ), literally Six Harmonies Pagoda or Six Harmonies Tower, is multi-storied Chinese pagoda in southern Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, China. It is located at the foot of Yuelun Hill, facing the Qiantang River. It was originally constructed during the Northern Song Dynasty (960 – 1127 AD), destroyed in 1121, and reconstructed fully by 1165, during the Southern Song Dynasty (1127 – 1279 AD).
The pagoda was originally constructed by the ruler of the Wuyue State, some of which would later makeup Zhejiang province. The name ‘Liuhe’ comes from the six Buddhist ordinances and it is said that the reason for building the pagoda was to calm the tidal bore of the Qiantang River and as a navigational aid. However, the pagoda was completely destroyed during warfare in the year 1121.
The Pagoda was in disrepair before 1900
After the current pagoda was constructed of wood and brick during the Southern Song Dynasty, additional exterior eaves were added during the Ming (1368 – 1644) and Qing Dynasties (1644 – 1911). The pagoda is octagonal in shape and some 59.89 meters (196 feet) in height, it also has the appearance of being a thirteen-story structure, though it only has seven interior stories. There is a spiral staircase leading to the top floor and upon each of the seven ceilings are carved and painted figures including animals, flowers, birds and characters. Each story of the pagoda consists of four elements, the exterior walls, a zigzagged corridor, the interior walls and a small chamber. Viewed from outside, the pagoda appears to be layered-bright on the upper surface and dark underneath. That is a harmonious alternation of light and shade.
According to historian Joseph Needham, the pagoda also served as a lighthouse along the Qiantang River. Being of considerable size and stature, it actually served as a permanent lighthouse from nearly its beginning, to aid sailors in seeking anchorage for their ships at night (as described in the Hangzhou Fu Zhi).
A small “Pagoda Park” has recently been opened nearby. Its an exhibition features models of ancient Chinese pagodas, and illustrates the variety of different designs, and the history, culture and symbols associated with the pagoda.

March 14, 2010

Hongcun  is a village in Yixian county, Anhui province (Yixian County), located near the southwest slope of Mount Huangshan, in China.
The village is arranged in the shape of an ox: A nearby hill (Leigang Hill) is interpreted as the head, and two trees standing on it mark the horns. Four bridges across the Jiyin stream can be seen as the legs and the houses of the village form the body. Inside the “body”, the Jiyin stream can be seen as the intestines and the lakes — such as the “South Lake” (Nanhu) — as the stomachs.
Hongcun’s central clearing
The architecture and carvings of the approximately 150 residences dating back to the Ming and Qing dynasties are said to be among the best of their kind in China. One of the biggest of the residences open to visitors, Chenzhi Hall, also contains a small residence museum.
Together with Xidi it was made a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2000. Hongcun was a location where the film Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon was shot. Since then, tourism has dramatically increased.

February 25, 2010
Located in the northwest of Wulingyuan, it is in the neighborhood of Suoxiyu Valley and Tianzi Mountain. It has an area of 72,000 acres, an average rainfall of 1200-1600mm, an average temperature of 16oC and a frost-free period of 240-300 days. 97 percent of the park is covered with plants which have 98 families, 517 species, over twice the total in Europe. Its gymnosperm species take up half of the total in the world. Zhangjiajie opens to the outside at the beginning of the 1980s and is the earliest tourist zone exploited in Zhangjiajie. It is noted for its queer peaks, tranquil water and beautiful forests. It is the first National Forest Park approved by the State Council in 1982. Its main scenic spots include Golden Whip Stream, Huangshi Fort and so on. Numerous pinnacles rise abruptly from the level ground in the shape of huge bamboo shoots pointing to the sky. Both sides of Golden Whip Stream stand grotesque peaks and are covered with old trees and vines. The stream, like colorful ribbons, flows through valleys. Watching mountains on Huangshi Fort, one can't help acclaiming as the acme of perfection. 

Huangshi Fort 

  Huangshi Fort, named after a hermit Huangshi, is 1080m above sea level. It is higher on the south and elevated by stiff cliffs, covering an area of 16.5 hectors. It provides the largest collection of marvelous spectacles and also provides the larges sightseeing terrace above sea level in Zhangjiajie. The chief scenic spots include Treasure Box of Heavenly Books, the Magic Sea-suppressing Needle, the South Pillar of Heaven, the Golden Tortoise Watching the Sea and so on. If you stand on the terrace and watch as far as you can towards the south, you can see all kinds of queer pinnacles. If you watch towards the east, you can see numerous grotesque peaks by the Golden Whip Stream which resemble a clear, crystalline jadeite. Hence, there is a saying: " It can't be said that you have been to Zhangjiajie without reaching Huangshi Fort. 

Golden Whip Stream 

   Located in the east of Zhangjiajie National Forest Park, named after the 380-meter high Golden Whip Rock, Golden Whip stream meanders 15 Li. Flowing from Laomo Gully first to Confluence of Four Rivers then to Suoxi Stream, it finally joins Li river, one of the four rivers in Hunan Province. It flows between steep grotesque peaks and luxuriant trees. Here, the meandering streams, the crystal-clear waterfalls, exotic plants and rare animals co-exist and constitute the extraordinarily beautiful, tranquil and natural ecological environment. No wonder it is called "the most beautiful valley in the world" and "the most poetic stream". The major scenic spots include Rock of Welcoming Guests, Golden Whip Rock, Reunion Rock and the Purple Grass Pond. 

The Southern Heaven Gate 

  If you want to go to Tianzi Mountain through Suoxiyu Valley, you'll have to pass by a huge stone peak with a natural passage through it. The mouth of the passage is shaped like a gate. Thus, it is named the Southern Heaven Gate. 

The Imperial Brush Peak 

  Walking a few steps from the scenic spot named the Fairy Maid Presenting Flowers and then watching towards the southwest on the sightseeing terrace, you can see a pinnacle resembling a huge imperial brush on the right of some graceful peaks, and some short pinnacles on the left in the shape of some brushes on the rack. It brings back the memory of King Xiang who read over official papers and drew a circle around his name on a document. How heroic he was. When you enjoy the view at dusk with red evening clouds in the sky, you'll see that the peak is glittering brightly on its tip as if there were red paint remaining on the point of the brush. Therefore, it is not surprising that more than30 domestic pictorials have its photos printed. 

Seeing West Sea on the Heavenly Terrace 

  Heavenly terrace, resembling a little platform in heaven, is high and perilous, walled by stiff and crisscrossed precipices. The only way to it is a straight flight of 186-step stone stairs. Seen on the Heavenly Terrace with a bird-eye's view, the west sea is a great sea, a sea of clouds and fogs, of peaks, of greenness, and of mystery. The forest of pinnacles stand, strange stones cover the ground. The clouds roll and rays shine. Old trees' branches and roots curl up. How mysterious and unpredictable.
February 23, 2010

This region is located Bihar the southeast area, has about 10kilometers from the Behead downtown, sits the vehicle big outline more than 10 minutes. Now, let me use this time to introduce the silver beach to everybody
Talks about the silver beach, lets us first start from the 90’sinitial period to mention! 90 years on November 23, also is in the North Sea big development time, original state president Comrade JiangZemin inspects when North Sea arrived here, and entrusted with North Sea to this nature people’s sand beach to give the very high appraisal. Original national Premier Comrade Zhu rongji base called here is “the world is unusual, China only has”; Tours older generation country leader Comrade Yang Shangkun when to here, while in a good mood wields a brush the preface, reputation it is “the world first beach”, now enters from the main entrance, we may see these characters deeply have engraved in a big stone;
91 years in July, in the Central Party Committee and under the Beihaipeople’s government concern, a silver beach issue of project completes and the official foreign opening; 92 year here namely is evaluated national one of 12 countries levels traveling vacation areas; 95 years are evaluated national 35 “the trump card scenic spot” center beautifully to rest one of places; In 2000 is evaluated the nationalAAAA level scenic area. Here element has “south Beidaihe” “Eastern Hawaii” the laudatory name.
Then, why the silver beach can obtain so many fine reputations? Here lets me come to come for everybody 11. First: Here sand beach extremely broad: East gets up the big crown sand, west to Crown Head the range, is continuous has 24 kilometers, the beach width 300-700 meters different, the total area has about 50 square kilometers, has surpassed Dalian, Yantai, Qingdao, Xiamen, the Neidaihehaibin bathing place sand beach area sum total; Second: Beach slope extremely gentle: Swims hundred meters far not to be able to let the sea water overflow the top of the head, swims the safety coefficient in here is extremely high. Certainly, everybody do not have to lower one’s guard, here lecture of security problem only is after all relative but non-absolute; Third: The sand is careful and white: The entire sand beaches has been through repeatedly surely the year by the high grade pure quartz sand Washes the principle to pile up becomes. In its sand silicon dioxide content reaches as high as 98.37%, the outward appearance crystal-clear snow white like powder, the creamy like cotton and kapok, spillover piece by piece the silver light under the sunlight illumination, name of the silver beach also from this. Fourth: Water temperature static, the wave is soft; Here sea water annual mean water temperature about 23.7, a year has nine month-long the time to be possible to go to sea to swim, this area is near the sea area not to have any industry pollution, the sea water visibility is bigger than 2 meters, the water quality surpasses the our country coast average standard above a time; Fifth: In the air negative oxygen ion content is high; In each cubic centimeter air the negative oxygen ion content reaches as high as about 2500-5000, is the inland city 50 to 100 times, is convalesces the vacation certainly the good institute; Sixth: Year to year four does not have: Does not have the shark, the inanimate object harm, dives without the sea flows, does not have the pollution; Indeed is south our country the rare ideal seashore bathing place and develops the sand beach movement the good place.
In 2003, Behead government in non- standard period has held two important matters,: Was has carried on the thorough transformation to the North Sea main road; Another matter: Is in “also the sand beach to the people, but also sand beach by nature” under the idea, the use large quantities of funds carried on to the silver beach rehaveplanned and the transformation. The present silver beach, the appearance is changed beyond recognition, everywhere obviously bluegrass-green tree, beautiful spring day.
Fellow friends, our vehicle now entered the silver beach traveling vacation area, here originally divided into three great merits energy regions, namely: Silver beach park, Beach Park, sea peaceful property. Everybody proceeds to look that, that dissimilar in shape and form villa group altogether has quite several hundred, a product which that’ll is at the beginning of the 90’s “the North Sea real estate is hot” when stays behind. Along with the this year silver beach again plan and the transformation, this piece left unused the long villa group also to obtain rational development and the use. Everybody looked these along the street villa rheas already repaired, believes in the near future, here could be a piece of vitality abundant scenery.
Good, we soon arrive the silver beach park the entrance. This group walks, did not know whether everybody did feel, the silver beach is having the earth-shaking change. When you saw when silver beach present appearance, how can the present mood be? Is not has suppresses the innermost feelings with difficulty joyful and is excited? No problem, if has a shout: The silver beach I came!
We already arrived the silver beach main entrance. Also namely wasgoing to invest into the sea bosom front, went to sea to ask everybodyconveniently to close the glass, the belt good along with goods, andremembered two requests: One is: Our parking place and the vehiclenumber need to remember, in order to everybody can promptly find ourlarge unit in the stipulation time; Two is: To everybody reiteratedonce again when swimming certainly must pay attention to the security.

February 23, 2010

Hua Shan (simplified Chinese: 华山; traditional Chinese: 華山; pinyin: Huà Shān, sometimes spoken Huá Shān) is located in the Shaanxi Province, about 100 kilometres east of the city of Xi’an, near the city Huayin in China. The mountain is one of China’s Five Sacred Taoist Mountains, and has a long history of religious significance. The mountain has five main peaks, of which the tallest is the South Peak at 2160 m.
As early as the second century BCE, there was a Daoist temple known as the Shrine of the Western Peak located at its base. Daoists believed that in the mountain lives a god of the underworld. The temple at the foot of the mountain was often used for spirits mediums to contact the god and his underlings. Unlike Taishan, which became a popular place of pilgrimage, Huashan only received local pilgrms, and was not well known in much of the rest of China.[1] Huashan was also an important place for immortality seekers, as powerful drugs were reputed to be found there. Kou Qianzhi (365-448), the founder of the Northern Celestial Masters received revelations there, as did Chen Tuan (920-989), who lived on the mountain prior to receiving immortality. In the 1230s, all the temples on the mountain came under control of the Daoist Quanzhen School.[2] In 1998, the management committee of Huashan agreed to turn over most of the mountain’s temples to the China Daoist Association. This was done to help protect the environment, as the presence of monks and nuns deters poachers and loggers.[3]
There are three ways up to Huashan’s North Peak (1613 m), the lowest of the mountain’s major peaks. The most popular is the also the original route, which winds for 6 km from Hua Shan village to the north peak. There is also the cable-car, as well as a path that follows the cable car to the North Peak. From the North Peak, a series of paths rise up to the four other peaks, the West Peak (2038 m), the Center Peak (2042 m), the East Peak (2100 m) and the South Peak (2160 m).[4]
Huashan has historically been a place of retreat for hardy hermits, whether Daoist, Buddhist or other; access to the mountain was only deliberately available to the strong-willed, or those who had found ‘the way’. With greater mobility and prosperity, Chinese, particularly students, began to test their mettle and visit in the 1980s. The inherent danger of many of the exposed, narrow pathways with precipitous drops gave the mountain a deserved reputation for danger. As tourism has boomed and the mountain’s accessibility vastly improved with the installation of the cable car in the 1990s, visitor numbers surged. Despite the safety measures introduced by cutting deeper pathways and building up stone steps and wider paths, as well as adding railings, fatalities continued to occur. The local government has proceeded to open new tracks and created one-way routes on some more hair-raising parts, such that the mountain can be scaled without significant danger now, barring crowds and icy conditions. Some of the most precipitous tracks have actually been closed off. The former trail that leads to the South Peak from North Peak is on a cliff face, and it was known as being extremely dangerous; there is now a new and safer stone-built path to reach the South Peak temple, and on to the Peak itself.
Many Chinese still climb at nighttime, in order to reach the East Peak for the dawn – though the mountain now has many hostels. This is also a hangover from when it was considered safer merely not to be able to see the extremes of danger and exposure of the tracks during the ascent, as well as to avoid others descending down what at many points were pathways with scarcely room for one to pass along.

February 23, 2010

To the Tang Dynasty Dinner Show, a performance of Chang’an music and dances that was originated in the Tang Dynasty of Chinese history over a thousand years ago.

It has been recreated in accordance with various historical records and ancient arts and relics discovered in Xi’an, the capital of the empire throughout the Tang Dynasty regime.

The Tang Dynasty Dinner Show is performed by the “Tang Dynasty Song & Dance Troupe”, a branch of the “Shaanxi Provincial Song & Dance Troupe”.

Accompanied with dinner, you will enjoy a national art that reflects the glory and richness of the Tang Dynasty era.

February 22, 2010

Famen Temple (Chinese: 法门寺; Pinyin: Fǎmén Sì) is located in Famen town, Fufeng County, 120 kilometers west of Xi’an City, Shaanxi

Province. It was widely regarded as the “ancestor of pagoda temples in Guanzhong area”.

One theory, supported by unearthed eaves-tiles and carved bricks of Han Dynasty, is that the temple was built during the Northern Zhou

Dynasty, by Emperor Huan and also by Emperor Ling of the Eastern Han Dynasty. The literature record indicates that during Northern Wei

Dynasty, Famen Temple already existed on a quite large scale. However, Buddhism was greatly suppressed in Emperor Wu’s years of Northern

Zhou Dynasty, and Famen Temple was almost completely destroyed. After establishment of Sui Dynasty, Buddhism was venerated, and Famen

Temple was rebuilt, although it couldn’t be recovered to its heyday in Northern Wei Dynasty. Its name was changed to Cheng Shi Dao Chang

(成实道场), and soon it merged with nearby Baochang Temple (宝昌寺), and became a temple-owned farm.

Famen Temple entered its halcyon days after formation of the Tang Dynasty. Wude 1st year (武德元年, 618), Tang Dynasty, it was named

Famen Temple, and monks were recruited next year. Later the temple took in homeless people from chaos caused by the war at the end of

Sui Dynasty, and was unfortunately burnt. It was rebuilt later by the effort of monks. In Zhenguan 5th year (631), a man named Zhang

Liang was appointed to demolish Wangyun Palace to build the pagoda. It was rebuilt in Gaozong Xianqing 5th year(660), and appeared to be

a four-storied pavilion-like pagoda. It was named later by Tang Zhongzong “True Relic Pagoda”. Tang Zhongzong actively advocated

Buddhism, and along with Empress Wei (韦后) buried their hairs under the pagoda (unearthed in autumn 1978). Jinglong 4th year (710), the

temple was renamed “Grand Empire Carefree King Temple” (圣朝无忧王寺), and the pagoda “Grand True Relic Pagoda” (大圣真身宝塔). In

Wenzong Kaicheng 3rd year (AD 838), it was renamed “Fayun Temple”, but soon was changed back to Famen Temple. When Buddhism was

suppressed in Huichang year of Wuzong, Famen Temple was affected. In Yizong’s years, it held the last activity of Buddha relic

acquisition in Tang Dynasty. At that time, Famen Temple was rebuilt, and its underground palace has never been altered since then. The

emperors of Tang Dynasty acquired Buddha relic 7 times here, and every time donated generously, which facilitated the expansion of the

temple and pagoda. After being built and renovated multiple times, Famen Temple evolved into a scale of 24 courtyards.

During Five Empires period, the king of Qin, Li Maozhen spent more than 30 years greatly renovating Famen Temple. In Houzhou Zhizong’s

year, Buddhism was restricted, but Famen Temple was not abandoned. After establishment of North Song Dynasty, Famen Temple was revived

again. After being renovated many times, in Da’an 2nd year, Jin Dynasty, it was claimed to be “Temple and Pagoda against Heaven”. During

Longqing’s years (1567-1572), Ming Dynasty, Famen Temple was greatly destroyed in Guanzhong earthquake, and the wood pagoda built in

Tang Dynasty collapsed. In Wanli 7th year (1579), the “True Relic Pagoda” was rebuilt, and became 13-storied brick-mimic-timber

structured pavilion-like pagoda.

During Qing Dynasty, Famen Temple was renovated in Shunzhi 12th year (1655), Qianlong 34th year (1769), and Guangxu 10th year (1884). In

Tongzhi 1st year (1862), the temple was damaged in Huimin Uprising in Shaanxi Province. It’s rebuilt later, but scale shrank a lot.

After formation of the Republic of China, Famen Temple was used to station army continuously, and it was largely ruined. Because of

natural and man-made calamities and the masses living in dire poverty, North China Philanthropy Association decided to rebuild the

temple and pagoda, and use labor work as methods to relieve the distress. The reconstruction started in 1938, and concluded in July

1940. A month later, the Buddhist activities were restored.

After the establishment of the People’s Republic of China, Famen Temple was among the first key protected historical relics of the

province. However, the properties of the temple were still appropriated for public uses, such like schools in Famen town. During

Cultural Revolution, the Red Guard damaged temple halls and Buddhist figures under the name of “breaking four old fashions”. The abbot,

Liangqing monk (良卿法师), incinerated himself in front of the True Relic Pagoda, in order to protect temple’s underground palace. When

the palace was unearthed later, the relic of self-immolation could still be seen. Other monks were either demobilized or killed. The

temple became “the temporary headquarter of proletariat rebellion of Fufeng County”. After 1979, Shaanxi province government once funded

reconstruction of the Grand Hall of the Great Sage (大雄宝殿) and the Brass Buddha Pavilion (铜佛阁). At 1:57am of 4 August 1981, half

side wall of True Relic Pagoda collapsed in the heavy rain. This incident drew universal attention. In 1984, the government implemented

religious policy and handed Famen Temple to Buddhist community. In 1985, Shaanxi province government decided to pull down the remaining

half side wall and rebuild the True Relic Pagoda. On 3 April 1987, the underground palace of True Relic Pagoda in Famen Temple was

opened, and a large quantities of precious historical relics were unearthed. This was quite a hit in news at that time. The expansion of

the temple and the reconstruction of the pagoda were completed in October 1988. On 9 November of the same year, the Famen Temple Museum

was opened.

In May of 2009 the Shaanxi government finished constructing the first phase of a much larger complex encompassing the Famen Temple. With

an area of 150 areas the new “Famen Temple Cultural Scenic Area” added 150 acres to the temple complex. The most obvious feature of the

new complex is the 148m Namaste Dagoba stupa and vault (see below).

Famen Temple currently maintains such a layout as Grand Hall following Pagoda. The True Relic Pagoda is regarded as the middle axle of

the temple. Before it stand the Front Gate, the Front Hall, and behind it is the Grand Hall of Great Sage. This is the typical layout of

the early Buddhist temples in China.

The True Relic Pagoda has been altered several times. It evolved from four-storied pavilion-like pagoda in Tang Dynasty to thirteen-

storied brick pagoda in Ming Dynasty. The current version was rebuilt based on the surveyed drawing of the pagoda in Ming Dynasty before

it collapsed. It is made of armored concrete as skeleton, and then covered by grey bricks. Inside the pagoda there are sightseeing

platforms for tourists.

The underground palace was restored to the structure of Tang Dynasty. Only few severely damaged parts were replaced. The whole palace

was built by white marbles and limestone tablets. Inner walls and stony gate are all engraved. During the renovation of the underground

palace, a circular basement was built surrounding the Tang palace, and Buddhist shrines were included. The preserved Buddhist finger

relic rests at the center of the underground palace.

The western division of the temple is Famen Temple Museum, including multi-functioning reception hall, treasure hall and other

buildings.

Buddha’s relics
From 5-12 May 1987, after the opening of underground palace, four relics claimed to be directly related to Buddha were found. Two of

these were made of white jade. The third relic was from a famous monk. These three are called “ghost relics” (影骨). They were placed

together with a “true relic” (灵骨) in order to protect them. The true relic was yellow-colored, with bone-like secretory granules. It

was declared by experts to be a the finger bone of the Sakyamuni Buddha.[citation needed] Thereafter, Famen Temple became Buddhist place

of pilgimage due to the discovery of what is claimed as a true relic of Buddha.

The finger bone was preserved in the last of eight boxes, each enclosing the others, each wrapped in thin silk. The outer box was in

sandalwood and had rotted away, but the smaller boxes were in gold, some in silver, and one in jade, and were in a good state of

preservation. Each box had a silver lock and was exquisitely carved.

[edit] Gold & Silver Relics
The underground “Palace” is now a museum, and contains some outstanding relics. One of the best preserved is a gilt silver tea set,

said to be one of the earliest royal tea sets ever discovered. It includes a tea caddy woven out of metallic yarn, a gilt silver

tortoise-shaped tea box, a tea roller-grinder, and a silver stove for brewing the tea. As a part of the set, a kind of container for

mixing tea, called a Tiao Da Zi, was used for tea mixing and drinking, since in ancient China the tea drinking ceremony was treated to

some extent just like a meal. First, tea was put into the container and spices added. Some boiled water was used to mix the tea into

paste, and them more hot water was added to make it into drinkable tea.

In addition, there is a magnificent silver-gilded incense burner on display, as well as a silver-gold decorated sandalwood burner. This

consists of a burner cover, stack, feet and other parts. The bottom rim of the cover is decorated with a circle of lotus petals

patterns, and the upper part is carved with five lotuses and enlaced tendrils. On each lotus lies a tortoise with its head turned back,

holding flowers in its mouth. The burner has five feet in the shape of beasts, the front parts of which are in the shape of unicorns.

The inscription on the burner indicates that it was made in 869 AD by an imperial workshop specialized in fabricating gold and silver

ware for the imperial family.

A tortoise-shaped gold-plated container with silver inlays is on display in the museum, the cover of which carved with turtle-shell and

brocade patterns. The container is 13cm high, 28.3cm long, 15cm wide. In addition, there is a set of five gilded-silver plates of

exquisite workmanship believed to date from the Tang dynasty.

A magnificent set of mini-sized costumes specially fabricated for the Bodhisattva can be seen, the most typical being a half-sleeved

blouse 6.5cm in length, with 4.1cm-long sleeves. This modelled on a typical short sleeved blouse worn by ladies in the Tang Dynasty, and

is made in the style of what the Chinese call “Gold Couching Embroidery,” and is top-grade crinkled embroidery made by embroidering with

gold threads. The blouse was worn drooped to the chest and has buttons down the front, with the collar and sleeve rims decorated with

patterns embroidered with twisted gold threads. The average diameter of the gold threads is 0.1mm, with the thinnest segment as thin as

0.06mm, which is thinner than a hair. Moreover, one meter of gold thread is developed from 3,000 circles of gold foil, which is hard to

achieve even in modern times characterized by high technology. In particular, loop edges of the gold threads make the fabric seem like a

painting, and are arranged to display gradually changing colours. The garment is obviously made by a master-hand and can be rated as an

unsurpassed piece of embroidery.

Also on display are 121 gold and silver articles,17 glass articles,16 pieces of olive green porcelain,more than 700 pieces of silk

fabrics,104 Buddhist figurines,hundreds of volumes of Buddhist scripture.

Colored Glaze
Colored Glaze is just today’s glass. Chinese glass manufacturing technology was long influenced by western Asia, and most common style

was Islamic. Because of it rarity, glass apparatus was as valuable as gold and jade. The unearthed glass apparatuses are mostly

hollowware such as disks, plates and bowls, totally over 20 pieces.

 Ceramics
There were a lot of speculations of “Mystic Color Ceramics” (秘色瓷) prior to the opening of underground palace. Someone thought mystic

color referred to a secret craft of glazing color. Others believed it was a name for a specific color. This conundrum was solved by the

description on the accounting tablet in the underground palace, and by the unearthing of 13 precious pieces of mystic color ceramics.

 Silk
China’s silk industry reached its prime time in Tang Dynasty, and the silk fabrics discovered in underground palace provided a

convincing evidence. Most of those fabrics were contributed by former Empresses. Among them there is a “Empress Wu’s Embroidered Skirt”

belonging to Wu Zetian.

 Figure of Buddha
There were 88 niches of Buddha in the 13-storied pagoda in Ming Dynasty, each containing a figure. By 1939, there were only 68 left.

Later after clear-up, there were totally 98 figures of Buddha, many containing scriptures, sealed at the times of Ming Dynasty and the

Republic of China.

February 22, 2010

The Mausoleum of Yellow Emperor (simplified Chinese: 黄帝陵; traditional Chinese: 黃帝陵; pinyin: Huángdì Líng) is the burial site of the Chinese legendary Yellow Emperor, located at Yan’an, Shaanxi province of China. It was one of the first listed on the China’s National List of Intangible Cultural Heritage issued by Ministry of Culture of the People’s Republic of China in 2006.

The Mausoleum consists of two parts: the Temple of Yellow Emperor and Mausoleum Hall. As legend has it Yellow Emperor ascended to the heaven. So the Mausoleum only has his cloth and hat. Many Chinese emperors, leaders and VIPs have visited and paid tributes to Yellow Emperor’s Mausoleum, including Emperor Wu of Han, Fan Zhongyan, Sun Yat-sen, Chiang Kai-shek, Mao Zedong etc.

February 22, 2010

Banpo (Chinese: 半坡; pinyin: Bànpō) is an archaeological site first discovered in 1953 and located in the Yellow River Valley just east of Xi’an, China. It contains the remains of several well organized Neolithic settlements dating from approximately 4500 BCE. It is a large area of 5-6 hectares and surrounded by a ditch, probably a defensive moat, five or six meters wide. The houses were circular, built of mud and wood with overhanging thatched roofs. They sat on low foundations. There appears to be communal burial areas.

Banpo is the type-site associated with Yangshao Culture. Archaeological sites with similarities to the first phase at Banpo are considered to be part of the Banpo phase (5000 BC to 4000 BC) of the Yangshao culture. Banpo was excavated from 1954 to 1957 and covers an area of around 50,000 square metres.

The settlement was surrounded by a moat, with the graves and pottery kilns located outside of the moat perimeter. Many of the houses were semisubterranean with the floor typically a meter below the ground surface. The houses were supported by timber poles and had steeply pitched thatched roofs.

According to the Marxist paradigm of archaeology that was prevalent in the People’s Republic of China during the time of the excavation of the site, Banpo was considered to be a matriarchal society; however, new research contradicts this claim, and the Marxist paradigm is gradually being phased out in modern Chinese archaeological research[2]. Currently, little can be said of the religious or political structure from these ruins from the archeological evidence.

The site is now home to the Xi’an Banpo Museum.