Sunday, October 21, 2012

Hongcun Village (10/21/2012)

Sunday, October 21, 2012
(Continued from Huangshan Departure.)
Entering Hongcun over the Hongji Bridge, we noticed not only the town itself, but the artists sitting everywhere to sketch and paint:
Yuangmin Bridge with bedding set out to dry (and a couple artists below):
Hongcun is supposed to be laid out in the shape of an ox, and this is one of two 600-year old trees that make up the horns:
A Pterocarya stenoptera/Chinese Wingnut Tree. (The other tree, just as big, was a Gingko biloba/Gingko Tree.)
Huizhou-style architecture of the Qing Dynasty, with horsehead walls:
We arrived in Hongcun before noon, and it was decided we would eat lunch first to avoid the lunchtime rush. We were trotted quickly through the village and up the hill to Leigang Villa.
Situated in a bamboo forest, we entered the complex full of buildings turned into dining rooms:
The tile roof incorporated two vases:
We were told that there were often no windows or very small windows in the houses of the rich people, to deter any thieves.
 An artist in the bamboo forest:
A dried pig leg:
Bamboo door and wall, and a stone base:
Leigang Hill is supposed to be the head of the ox, which makes the two trees in the plaza as horns like having the horns in the butt. One source states that two trees on the hill are the horns, which would make sense, but no trees on the hill stood out.
After a typical Chinese lunch, we began the tour of the town, which was inhabited by families of the Wang clan. The town was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2000.
Chengzi Hall belonged to a salt merchant and is built in the typical Huizhou-style. One of the features is a "sky well," a sort of open sky light that lets in not only light, but air and rain. Water is collected into channels in the floor beneath the sky well:
Due to the status of this family, they had an especially high threshold, which could be removed when VIPs visited:
The house was full of intricate wood carvings, some of it gilded or painted:
Much of this craftwork was preserved by the villagers by pasting propaganda posters over the decorative carvings, hoping the Cultural Revolution Red Guards would not investigate underneath. Plus, these villages were rather far out in the country and were not priorities for re-education at the time.
The marriage bed of the wife was fancier than the concubine's bed:
A beam carving depicts "Nine Generations Living Under One Roof" in hopes that this family could live in harmony with many generations together:
The Mahjong Room, with a hideaway for the concubines:
The Opium "Den:"
Consecutive doorways:
Water from street channels are diverted into the homes for gardens and other uses:
One of the water channels in the streets:
The water channels in Hongcun are considered the intestines of the ox.
The Yue Zhao/Moon Pond:
A half-moon shaped pond is either the heart of the ox, or one of its [four] stomachs:
Kent and Tamiko:
Jingxiu Hall displayed carved brick artistry:
But it is outdone by Lexu Hall (the Wang family ancestral temple):
The sky well in the ancestral temple was as big as a room in a more typical house. Tall ceilings kept the temple cool in the summer. We were told the beams were made from gingko:
Jingxiu Hall and Lexu Hall on the other side of Moon Pond:
Bags of dried chrysanthemum flowers used for tea:
Toy vendors:
Another narrow lane with a water channel:
Someone's garden with the pumpkin vines climbing up a tree:
A street artist:
And his subject:
Students from nearby art schools come here by the busload.
Nanhu/South Lake, a stomach of the ox:
Nanhu Shuoyuan/South Lake Academy:
This was the Wang family public school:
The beginning of the stone causeway across South Lake:
South Lake panorama:
Does the bridge look familiar?
It is in the opening scene of the movie "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon."
South Lake Academy across the lake:
Artists galore:
A pony cart:
We departed from Hongcun to go to another village, Xidi.
(Continued in Xidi Village.)

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