Sunday, May 27, 2012

Jiading (5/27/2012)

Sunday, May 27, 2012
Wonderful weather this weekend! Sunny, not too hot or humid, and cool in the shade.
Today we headed to the town of Jiading. We were able to take four things off the Shanghai must-see list!
I know it is confusing when I say we are visiting this town or that city, and we are still in Shanghai.
The People's Republic of China is divided into 33 administrative sections (in the U.S. we would have 51, the 50 states and D.C.). There are 22 provinces, 4 municipalities (including Shanghai and Beijing; equal to a province), 5 autonomous regions (including Tibet), and 2 special administrative regions (Hong Kong and Macau). Shanghai is divided into 18 districts of which Jiading is one. Jiading includes several towns, one of which is named Jiading!
So after riding Metro Line 6 out to the northernmost end, we were here!
A pleasant "city" with streets lined with Sabina chinensis/Chinese Juniper trees.
Orange taxis and orange street lights:
Kent was marveling over how neat and clean the shops were here in Jiading. That must mean he doesn't usually get taken to the nicer parts of Shanghai!
We bought a couple children's picture books in the bookstore:
They charged by the weight of the books!
The melon farmer:
We heard from Sally (in the U.S.) about the problem of exploding watermelons in China; too much of a chemical to boost growth? But untreated watermelons exploded as well...
A bakery:
Later Bruno was to have us try the little cupcakes in the back, for 1/2 RMB/8 cents each!
The town performing arts center:
What's wrong with this sculpture?
His flute is missing!
A small shopping "mall:"
With basically two kinds of shops, those to get keys made, and those to have apparel alterations done.
Awesome Barbie or Disney Princess dress...
Hedge design:
Canal bridge
Some Zhouqiao Old Street canal scenes:
Love birds at a flower shop:
Zhouqiao Old Street:
Wedding dress with a Christmas bow:
Red dress in the upstairs window:
Building with carved wood windows and doors:
Bruno browses an antique shop:
The Fahua Pagoda:
Originally built in 1205-07, renovated 1996.
On the grounds were two exhibition halls, one for Gu Weijun (1888-1985), known in English as Wellington Koo. He was a diplomat who served as prime minister and foreign ambassador of the Republic of China. As a representative of China, he refused to sign the Treaty of Versailles in 1919 because the concession that Japan return the Shandong peninsula to China was refused. As with many of these early 20th century Chinese notable personages, he was educated in the U.S., getting his undergraduate and doctoral degrees from Columbia University. He also received several honorary degrees, including one from Kent's alma mater, Miami University:
The other exhibition hall featured Hu Juewen (1895-1989):
He is another rags-to-riches story, who believed that industrial development was the key to avoiding humiliation as a country from imperialism. He founded several machine factories, and encouraged the workers to get involved in the liberation of the country. During WWII, he began to realize that industry was not the answer to a strong country, but that peace and democracy were. He launched a political group of businesses and industries to support the Communist Party in "the establishment of a peaceful, democratic, unified and prosperous new China."
Back on the Old Street, a "bop the gopher" game with a mysterious tagline:
So many curved roof lines:
Not a fan of these street lights:
A cross canal:
Busy Old Street:
Lunch at a quasi-cafeteria:
For 15 RMB/$2.36 you were able to pick two meat dishes, one meat and veggie dish, and two vegetable dishes. Plus there was rice and soup.
Did they mean to be literal with this T-shirt?
We visited the Lu Yanshao Art Academy:
Lu Yanshao (1909-1993) was a Chinese calligrapher and painter. A second floor room exhibited a few of his paintings and photos during his life. He seemed to hang around with Hu Juewen, as they are together in several photos! The first floor exhibition hall had art work of artists from the Hebei Institute of the Arts.
Our favorite was Li Yanpeng:
He does wood block prints of the harsh Loess Plateau region of China. From a distance, they almost look like photographs.
The biographies of the artists were in Chinese, and listed two dates. If you took them as the year of birth and the year of death, these guys all passed in their 20s! But the dates were of the year of birth, and the year of college graduation!
Next, the Qiuxia Garden, one of the five classical gardens of Shanghai, but this one has the longest history and is the best preserved. Like the Yu Garden in the old town of Shanghai, this garden included a Chenghuang/City God Temple:
Established in 1218, it is the oldest and biggest City God temple in Shanghai.
A Xi'an warrior god?
This god had several changes of costume:
A couple of our favorite folk gods:
Say "cheese!"
The garden is made up of the gardens of three villas. It originated in the 1120s, and has been damaged and rebuilt multiple times.
We wanted to know what this plant was that towered over our heads with these strange fruit/seed pods:
We didn't recognize the peony plants because they were so big, and this fruit is unique to the Chinese version.
Tamiko on one stepping-stone bridge:
Bruno on the more challenging stepping-stone bridge:
Stone lattice window:
Pavement mosaic:
The tree is still alive, but is it hollow?
A concrete base and metal pipe supports the tree:
Tranquil lakeside pavilion:
We dubbed this a "clover" gate:
By Bruno
Umm, a teapot gate?
with Bruno and Kent.
This doorway leads to the rockery tunnel:
Another stone lattice window:
with a view of roof tiles that are really stacked up.
Bruno went to find the source of flute-like music and found two agreeable gentlemen:
By Bruno
By Bruno
An erhu (Chinese 2-string fiddle) on the left and xiao (Chinese vertical flute) on the right.
Tamiko on the zig-zag bridge:
A stonescape altar:
The miniature stonescape sits in water:
 The Zelkova schneideriana:
It is over 250 years old, with interesting bark:
A peaceful pond scene:
But what are those two trees growing out of the water?
Oh, fake trees supporting the 250-year old Zelkova:
"Bark" of the fake tree:
Kent is investigating:
By Bruno

Outside the Qiuxia Garden, and outside the City God Temple, there are shops for temple offerings:
Kent's baying hounds:
Across the street and across the canal from the garden, we ended up in a huge motor scooter parking lot:
Partial parking for the French-based Auchan store:
Not just a supermarket, but a hypermarket!
We stopped at the Bamboo Carving Museum on the grounds of the Jiading Villa Hotel:
Standing upright like this, the carving is a decorative screen. Laying flat, it is a wrist rest (for calligraphers, not computer geeks).
On the way to the Confucian Temple, we passed several sculptures:
The metaphor of this sculpture of the boy below was explained by Sean. Learning is compared to eating, so when this child takes in the knowledge from the three primers/books, he will have a "stomach full of ink" and will be grown up.
Now we have arrived at the Confucian Temple:
Established in 1219, it is the best preserved Confucian temple in China.
Three bridges over Pan Pool:
A Pan Pool is similar to the Golden River in front of imperial palaces, and thus gives Confucius the honor similar to that of the imperial family.
A Yu, a wooden instrument n the shape of a tiger:
Music is produced by scraping a bamboo stick or whisk along the ridges on the tiger's back.
A gorgeous dragon banner:
This temple houses the Museum of the Chinese Imperial Examination System. Here are the examination cubicles:
Candidates might come to study before the exam,
and basically live in these cubicles, where the two boards can be rearranged into a bed:
The examination itself was given in the cubicles:
There were two types of imperial exams: military and civil.
People found ways to cheat, using a ghost-writer:
Or bringing in articles with information written on them, like underwear:
A piece of silk:
Civil rank badges:
Each type of bird represents a different rank, or how well you did in the exam.
Spirit tablets:
An over 650-year old Sabina chinensis/Chinese Juniper tree:
 As seen at the entrance gate to the temple:
Tamiko and stone lion at the Memorial gate:
Finally, Huilongtan Park:
It sits at the convergence of five "rivers" and is called the "Convergence of Dragons." The island with the 2-story tower is the "pearl" in the center, with which the dragons play.
The opera stage in the park:
The park was built in 1928.
We were ready to call it a day when the park closed at 4:30 pm!
Someone was very tired on the Metro!
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