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|Long You, Qu Zhou and Zhuge Liang Bagua Cun, Zhejiang Province
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|Off the Highway, harvested rice is being processed on the road
|A busy street in a village named Xiao Yunan
||Colecting and carrying whatever
|Arrival at Longyou
|Various Grottoes in one park
Discovered in 1992 and gradually exploited
|Of the exploitation, nice houses can be built
|The Grottoes or Caves are clearly manmade
||With slender but strong pillars keeping up the slanting ceiling
||With regular chipping
|Still unknown background
||But remarkable workmanship
|From the booklet
I've tried to take out the worst English, but there still might be some "funny" translations left.
The 300N is a peculiar and mysterious parallel on which we find the world highest mountain, Mt Jolmo Lungma [Mt Everest; PCB], the worlds deepest Ocean Trench, Mariana, the Bermuda Triangle, know as the Death Triangle and the Great Pyramids of Egypt, one of the eight Wonders of the World.
In China we find the Qianjing River Tide [see Cao Sui; PCB], Mt Huangshan [Yellow Mountains; PCB], Mt Lushan, the Zhangjiajie Scenic Forest, the Shennogjia Natural Reserve, the Great Canyon of Ya Lu Tsangpo River..... And today, at the same parallel, inside Fenghuang (Phoenix) Hill at the source of the Qianjing River in East China there is another wonderful discovery after being covered for unknown time by mud and water: Longyou Grottoes, a cluster of ancient mysterious underground buildings which boast a peculiar structure and magnificent scale.
Fenghuang Hill is traditionally regarded as a treasured area with good geomantic omen [Feng Sui; PCB].
According to the old county annals, rare birds were seen gathering and hovering around; hence the name Fenghuang Hill. Tongtan Hill is its popular name.
Two rivers (the Linshan River and the Qujiang River) join at its foot, creating a wonderful scenery.
At the top of the hill was an ancient Buddhist temple, the Hall of Tongtan (called Bamboo Forest Buddhist Temple later) which was built during the Ming Dynasty. There are pools near the temple, the water in which is unfathomable and cool, hence the name "Bottomless Pools". The temple freed captive animals in them.
In 1956, a catastrophic flood destroyed the village on the shoal in the middle of the river opposite the hill. The villagers there moved up to Fenghuang Hill, adjacent to the temple.
As there were many red rocks there, it was named "Shiyanbei Village" (the village on the back of the rock).
Like the many pools south of the Yangtse River, the bottomless pools scattered around on the hill naturally became the source of water the villagers lived on. Big pools were used for washing clothes, hence the name "Xishang Pool". Steps were built around small square pools which looked like the mouth of a well and they were used for drinking.
Where there is water there is fish. People who inhabited Shiyangbei Village often went fishing in these pools. Big black carps of scores of kilograms were said to have been caught in them.
A great many secrets of the world often came to light quite by accident. For example, Wang Yirong discovered ancient inscriptions on bones and tortoise shells while working with traditional Chinese medicine and a farmer in Lin Tong County of Xi'an Municipality unearthed clay warriors and soldiers of Emperor Qin Shihuang while digging a well.
On June 9, 1992, four farmes of Shiyanbei Village, Wu Ah Nai, Chen Longgen, Deng Shoufu and Mao Ronggui came up with an exciting idea and started their undertaking of "killing two birds with one stone" to acquire wealth. They decided to dry up Xishangh Pool which covered an area of just over 20 square meters in the hope to discover a cave and to make money by attracting tourists. Also by selling the many fish in the pool they might make large profits.
Four pumps began to chug along; the water ran gurgling into the Qujiang River. The bottomless pool was surrounded by the villagers watching in excitement. After 17 days and nights, the pool was finally dry.
Before the eyes of the people emerged an empty hall of an underground cave. It was a huge construction made completely by hand.
The hall was about 20 meters high with an area of up to 1200 square meters. Four huge rock columns, shaped like fish tails supported the cave ceiling which had a 450 slope down. The biggest column was so thick that five persons could barely get their arms around it. The cave looked like an upside down funnel (Experts call it "the deep vertical cave") The rectangular entrance to the cave stretched down to the ground. The four walls were even and upright with clear edges and corners. On the left were some primitive steps of different heights. The top, walls and columns were all through decorated with delicate symmetrical chiseled stripes of 40 centimeters wide, as if made by machines.
"Killing just one bird with one stone" however: Not one of the fish was seen which the farmers wanted to catch in huge numbers. Only four croaking turtles. Wonder where all these fish had gone.
After the discovery of the Xishang Pool cave another six adjoining caves were excavated.
Later people discovered that the seven caves lay just at the center of the clusters of grottoes, dispersed in the location of the Big Dipper.
Further prospecting showed there are 24 more similar underground buildings distributed within a radius of one kilometer.
To peoples' great surprise, similar constructions were found up to Zongbu, Dingbu, Tuanshiwang and down to Fengjikun of Lantang Village, Caolong of Huzhen Town etc.
Yet there is another cave which has according to experts and area of more than 3000 square meters.
The amount of rock, removed for caves 1 to 5 is at least 100,000 cubic meter. Thousands of people spend more then one hundred years in scores of caves removing about the same amount. Such a large project cannot be finished by ordinary people, but the craftsmen seem to hide something. We have no history records, annals or legends about it. When is it formed? Who did it? Why are the grottoes built? Where did the excavated material go?
The entrances to the grottoes are narrow. The light inside is dim and there were no electric lights then. Surprisingly no traces of oil or smoke can be found on walls or roof. How did the craftsmen get light?
If so many craftsmen were sent to dig the caves, there should be some traces of life left. However, besides some rocks one can only see some thin layer of soil in Phoenix Mountain. One never found any auspicious ancient material dug up in other areas of Longyou.Where did the craftsmen live?
In general most caves are damp because of drip-water and what's more, the rock constructions are close to the river making it even easier for water drips. But quite contrary the dried caves stay dry without any water dripping.
Every cave is caved into solid red rock without any cracks. How did the designers do that? Did they research and explore beforehand?
Any capability is useful for society but the Longyou grottoes still remain a big mystery. And what on earth was it used for? This is a mysterious puzzle.
Recently at least some main conjectures have been made:
Some experts believe the main purpose of the caves was to dig stones. The section lines of the caves look so even that you might mistakenly think they are peeled with a knife. So fine and well-balanced are the veins as in many quarries. The reason for underground mining is that the line trends of the rock extend to the bottom under 450. What's more, the rock quality there is comparatively softer. The mined rocks coul have been used in two ways:
1. for building earlier residences and office walls
2. for building of dikes and embankments in the kingdom of Wu an Yue in the Wu Dai period.
Opponents believe that mere underground stone extraction is too costly. It is better to have open pit mining, saving effort and labor. Such large caves could absolutely not be completed in a short time and if the secret is not kept deliberately very strict, it is impossible that it was not leaked out.
Such a huge project conditioned by low productive workforces has to be dedicated for royal families and requires a special historic event. From that we can guess that possibly after defeat of the Yue Kingdom a secret military base was built in Gumi. However as the grottoes are situated near the river with boats passing freely and many people passing by, how could the information about training soldiers be hidden? How many soldiers can be trained in an space of 1000-3000 m2 ?
Some experts believe it is an economic way of housing, build in the Spring and Autumn period of the Han dynasty [722-481 BC; PCB].
Our country has a long history of building storage caves. The chiseled caves bear the characteristics of the old saying: "A square building is as a grotto". And the temperature inside the caves is normally between 14.70C and 15.20C while the relative humidity is between 96% and 98%. Although the humidity is high, it does not reach the saturation point.
Situated on the Northern bank of the Qiangtang river Longyou was considered a flourishing section for transport. By consequence, digging an underground storage along the wharf is essential. According to soil tests of the caves, one of the discovered caves contained an extremely high percentage of salt. Does this tell us that salt was stored in the earlier days?
Others opinionate that the caves are not convenient for transport. Why are no cross-caves dug rather than straight caves? In case water would enter, how could it be drained out again? And obviously the high humidity causes food to go bad easily.
The structure of Longyou grottoes has the characteristics of a palace.
1. The veins everywhere in the grottoes are so fine and delicate that they reach certain aesthetic standards
2. The structure of the construction is not only scientific and rational but also solid
3. The ceiling of the caves have a scientifically correct slope to drain the water away easily and it creates the effect of a warm winter and a cool summer.
As Longyou grottoes specific beauty is comparable to Xiajie's magnificent palaces with all their jewels as well to Qinshihuang's E'fang palace, why can it not be found in "The Hundred Schools of Thoughtperiod" [late Spring and Autumn and early Warring States a.o. Confucius, 551-479 B.C ; PCB] in various history books?
The shapes of the discovered caves are all of the upside down funnel type, just like some underground resting places of former emperors and kings. Some think it is possibly the mausoleum of the king of Gumi or some noblemen. Probably it is the imperial tomb of King Xu Yanwang of the Xizhou period [827-728 BC;PCB]. But so far, no unearthed relics can prove this really.
Some think it is a culture from other planets.
The whole construction of the grottoes is similar to other huge rock-based cultures abroad, like the pyramids.
The rock-carving in cave nr 1 stands for the sea(fish), the land (horse) and the sky (bird), demonstrating the original ideas of the aliens from other planets wanting to conquer the earth.
The huge lightening marks in cave nr 2 show the language of other planets.
Some experts believe these caves are the living places of earlier humans, dug in the Xia Shang period [ca. 2000-1100 BC; PCB], to cater for the needs of the tribes living in groups in that time. The people who dug and chiseled the caves were the many prisoners of war and slaves.
Besides, there are some theories like the legend of "Fulong prevented floods by water control" and "bandit residence", but all of these theories have no sufficient proof to support their point of view.
| My fellow travelers at an outside pool, possibly covering another cave.
|Quzhou, October 2-3, 2004|
|In the hotel in Quzhou, three wedding parties at the same time
||But we had our private dinner, with top officials of Quzhou city
|All friends of my host
||Enjoying the dinner and the beer
|Called Xin'an in ancient times, Quzhou is located in the west of Zhejiang Province in the upper reaches of the Qiantangjiang River. It is a 1,800-year-old city of military importance south of the lower reaches of the Yangtze River. The city established in the Tang dynasty (618-907) has long been known as the thoroughfare to the four provinces, namely Fujian, Jiangxi, Anhui and Zhejiang.[from Sohu»English home»Travel»Destination Guides»Zhejiang|
|Main South Gate
||Another restored gate
|The Confucius' South Zen Ancestral Temple is one of the only two in the world with the other one in Qufu of Shandong. In the second year (1128) of the Jianyan reign in the Song Dynasty (960-1279), Confucius' 48th generation descendant, Sun Duanyou, worshiped the wooden statues of Confucius and his wife in Quzhou of Zhejiang Province, and built the ancestral temple by imitating the one in Qufu. The temple has far-reaching influence on the thoughts, culture, moral ethics, folk customs and so on. It is a cultural relics site under the national protection.|
|Front porch with old Ginko Tree
||Big pond with of course the goldfish
|The Mountains near Quzhou|
|Into the Mountains to the High Hydroelectric Dam|
|First through some townships
||And through country site
|With the rice on the road
||And the Castor-oil nuts along the road
|Below the dam - upstream
||Below the dam - downstream
||The dam and my fellow travelers
|The High Hydroelectric Dam, built from 1964-1974
|The "construction" village on top of the dam with an interesting rock formation
||And the ferry to villages on the other side of the lake, before the dam reachable through the valey
|Still in the mountains to the Low Hydroelectric Dam, built before 1964
|Downstream of the Dam
|To a nice place
||To enjoy country side lunch with a hospitable family
|Preparing the food inside....
||....and outside the kitchen
|Around a simple table
||And alongside an even more simple sitting room
|But the food was well prepared
||By three generations of lovely ladies
|Lanke Mountain 10 kilometers southeast of the city proper, has green peaks and clear waters, and the huge rocks on top of the mountain support a horizontal rock to form a bridge arch known as Tiansheng (Nature-Formed) Bridge.
|At its foot a hollow tree
||An at its top a small bridge
|And "in between" the arch, where the story tells that
A man reached the arch and saw two immortals playing the famous play of "Go", which is still visible today.....
|A dangerous edge, but apparently very seductive
|At the foot of the hill is a temple
||Dedicated to some VIP
|With a big, but delapidated statue
||And a remarkable washing basin
|Zhuge Liang Bagua Cun [Eight Diagram Village; PCB], October 2-3, 2004|
Built 700 years ago by the Zhuge family, the Zhuge Village in the mountains of East China's Zhejiang Province, which was laid out in accordance with the Eight Diagrams and thus became one of the country's greatest labyrinths and most mysterious architectural works.
The Zhuge family, who built the village, were allegedly descended from Zhuge Liang (AD 181-234), chancellor of the Shu Kingdom in the Three Kingdoms period (AD 220-280) and one of the most prominent politicians and strategists in Chinese history.
The strategist was known for applying the "eight diagram", a formation recorded in the I-Ching, in the disposition of forces, and thus making an ever-changing battle array. Legends said no troops trapped in the array could escape.
The 27th descendant of the strategist, Zhuge Dashi, bought a small basin for the family surrounded by eight hills. The basin, located by the Lanxi River, had a pond at the centre. The family had dozens of houses and mansions built around the basin, according to the "eight diagram" battle array, which was handed down secretly by generations of the Zhuges.
The dark-roofed, white-walled ancient houses, which have been well preserved, face various directions. The alleys between houses, paved by stone tablets and covered by the green moss, are intersected and many have dead ends. Without the guidance of the villagers, visitors are often lost.
As most members of the family were doctors after the strategist, the village has been rather rich in the past seven centuries. The wooden mansions, built mostly in the Ming (1368-1644) and Qing (1644-1911) dynasties, were opulent with carvings in the windows, colourful paintings on the beams and sculptures on the eaves.
Bamboos, ancient pines and cypress trees stand around the village. Tablets with ancient calligraphy works hang on lintels over the doors, and articles by Zhuge Liang were displayed in guestrooms of almost all households. The literary tradition of the family has been handed down, as many from the village have been known for their academic achievements.
Source: China Daily 2003-08-09
|From the booklet I bought
|The plan of Zhuge Liang Bagua Cun
|Tablet stone, explaining
||The Ancestral Hall of the Prime Minister
|A open Hall
||With magnificent ceiling
|Well carved ornamentation
||Well carved ornamentation
|The Ying/Yang pond
||And the Gong Hall alongside it
||With an impressing ceiling construction
|With second floor
||And beautiful parlor
|An ornamental bed
||And smaller ornaments
|Inside doors with interesting headbeam
||Outside door leading to one of the many small alleys
|A building with 4 of the eight diagrams above the windows
||An alley ending on an "eight diagram" symbol
|A sewing workshop in the alley
||A gate withone of my fellow travellers
|Yet another gate with the other fellow traveller
||The big pond
|Another ornamental building
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| Qu Zhou:
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Zhuge Liang Bagua Cun:
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