JIANGXI PROVINCE: PORCELAIN, ANCIENT LIQUOR AND STUNNING MOUNTAINS

JIANGXI PROVINCE

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JIANGXI PROVINCE is an inland province that few Westerners visit. Porcelain was created here and The Long March began here after the Communists were driven out of one of their early guerilla camps by the Kuomintang. Traditionally part of China's breadbasket, it has been the home of tax revolts and battles with police over corruption. Jiangxi was regarded as one of the poorest and most corrupt provinces in China.

Jiangxi Province covers 166,919 square kilometers (64,448 square miles), is home to about 45 million people and has a population density of 270 people per square kilometer. About 56 percent of the population lives in urban areas. Nanchang is the capital and largest city, with about 3 million people. Ganzhou is the largest subdivision of Jiangxi. About 99.7 percent of the population that is Han Chinese, mostly Gan and Hakka. Ganzhou has a large number of Hakka. Ethnic minorities include She and Zhuang.

The name "Jiangxi" (pinyin: Jiāngxī; Wade–Giles: Chiang-hsi; Postal map spelling: Kiangsi, Gan: Kongsi) derives from the circuit administrated under the Tang Dynasty in 733, Jiangnanxidao (Circuit of Western Jiangnan; Gan: Kongnomsitau). The short name for Jiangxi is (pinyin: Gàn; Gan: Gōm), for the Gan River which runs across from the south to the north and flows into the Yangtze River. Jiangxi is also alternately called "Ganpotaiti" which literally means the "Great Land of Gan and Po".

Jiangxi is the main area of concentration of the Gan varieties of Chinese. The dialects — namely the Nanchang dialect, Yichun dialect and Ji'an dialects — are spoken over most of the northern two-thirds of the province. Examples include. The southern one-third of the province speaks Hakka. Mandarin, Huizhou, and Wu dialects are spoken along the northern border.

Ganju (Jiangxi opera) is the type of Chinese opera performed in Jiangxi. Although little known outside of the province, Jiangxi cuisine is rich and distinctive. Flavors are some of the strongest in China, with heavy use of chili peppers and especially pickled and fermented products. Jingdezhen is widely regarded as the producer of the best porcelain in China. Jiangxi also was a historical center of Chan Buddhism. Prominent examples of Hakka architecture can be found in Jiangxi. Maps of Jiangxi: chinamaps.org

Geography and Climate of Jianxi

Jiangxi Province is located in the southeastern part of China, south of the Yangtze River on its middle-lower reaches. To its east are Zhejiang and Fujian provinces; to its south is Guangdong Province; to its west if Hunan Province and to its north are the provinces of Hubei and Anhui. The main cities are Nanchang, Jiujiang, Jingdezhen, Shangrao, Yingtan, Fuzhou, Ganzhou, Ji’an, Xinyu, Yi-chun and Pingxiang).

Mountains surround Jiangxi on three sides, with the Mufu Mountains, Jiuling Mountains, and Luoxiao Mountains on the west; Huaiyu Mountains and Wuyi Mountains on the east; and the Jiulian Mountains and Dayu Mountains in the south. The southern half of the province is hilly with ranges and valleys interspersed; while the northern half is flatter and lower in altitude. The highest point in Jiangxi is 2,157-meter (7,077-foot) -high Mount Huanggang in the Wuyi Mountains, on the border with Fujian.

The Gan River dominates the province, flowing through the entire length of the province from south to north. It enters Lake Poyang in the north, the largest freshwater lake of China; that lake in turn empties into the Yangtze River, which forms part of the northern border of Jiangxi. Important reservoirs include the Xiushui Tuolin Reservoir in the northwest of the province on the Xiushui River, and the Wan'an Reservoir (zh) in the upper section of the Gan.

Jiangxi has a humid subtropical climate, with short, cool, damp winters, and very hot, humid summers. Average temperatures are about 3 to 9 °C (37 to 48 °F) in January and 27 to 30 °C (81 to 86 °F) in July. Annual precipitation is 1,200 to 1,900 millimeters (47 to 75 inches), much of it falling in the heavy rains occurring in late spring and summer.

Nanchang

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Nanchang (about 500 kilometers southwest of Shanghai) is the capital and largest city in Jiangxi, with about 2.9 million people in the city and 4.2 million in the metro area. Art Gallery of Bada Shanren houses many works of art by the famous painter by the same name who worked here 300 years ago. The area once was occupied by Qiao, son of Emperor Ling, who came here 2500 years ago to try to produce immortality pills. Nanchang was the Site of the BaYi Uprising (August 1, 1927), an important event in the early period of the Chinese Communist Party. In 2007, Zhelin Reservoir, about 40 kilometers miles) from Nanchang, was the filming location for the 15th series of the American TV show Survivor.

Tengwang Tower rises up next to the Ganjiang River. One of the three most famous towers south of the Yangtze river, it is a lovely 140-foot-high, red-and-black building with gently sloping roofs. Each of its four stories is outlined with delicate orange balconies. Situated on a stone platform, it can be seen from quite a distance on the flat plains that surround it.

Star of Nanchang (in Nanchang) is a giant Ferris wheel with a height of 160 meters (525 feet). Opened in 2006 and built at a cost of US$7.3 million, it was briefly the world's tallest operating Ferris wheel before it was succeeded by the 165-meter (541 feet) Singapore Flyer which opened in 2008. The Star of Nanchang has 60 enclosed air-conditioned gondolas, each carrying up to 8 passengers, for a maximum capacity of 480 passengers. A single rotation takes approximately 30 minutes; the slow rotation speed allows passengers to embark and disembark without the wheel having to stop turning.

Wanda City Nanchang is a 200-hectare monolith containing an outdoor amusement park, hotel resorts, dining and commercial districts, as well as its centerpiece, Wanda Mall. Andrew Chin wrote in That’s Shanghai: “The Wanda City outdoor park offers is a low ticket price (RMB198 on weekdays and RMB248) and lots of rides – 43 attractions across 80 hectares. The park is broken into five themed areas. Pottery Village features a 4D Porcelain Cinema Theater, a “haunted kiln,” a spinning porcelain cup ride and the terrifying (in a good way) Soaring Dragon and Dancing Phoenix ride with six inverted loops. Poyang Fisherman’s Village alludes to the provincial lake and features all the park’s water attractions. Bamboo Forest offers a python-themed wooden rollercoaster created by award-winning Great Coasters International. Temple of Clouds houses Coaster through the Clouds – China’s highest (242.8 feet) and fastest (84.5/mph) rollercoaster. And the kids-themed Fairy Lady Land is full of traditional motifs, and vendors can be found across the park offering workshops on traditional crafts.” Website: www.nanchang.wandaresort.com[Source: Andrew Chin, That’s Shanghai, July 28, 2016]

Web Sites: Travel China Guide Travel China Guide ; Maps of Nanchang: chinamaps.org ; Budget Accommodation: Check Lonely Planet books; Getting There: Nanchang is accessible by air, train and bus. Travel China Guide Travel China Guide

Nanchang Subway Map: Urban Rail urbanrail.net

Li Du Liquor Making Site

Li Du Liquor Making Site (in Jinxian, 50 kilometers south-southeast of Nanchang) is one of the Sites for Liquor Making in China that was nominated to be a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2008. According to a report submitted to UNESCO: Li Du Liquor Making Site, and Workshop is the earliest simple liquor making site discovered in China so far. It has a significant position in the field of Chinese alcoholic culture. This site has been ranked as one of the top ten archaeological discoveries of China in 2002. In 2006, it was proclaimed by the State Council as an important national historical site to be given special protection. Site coordinates: N28 0941-28 46131 E1161 0115-116 3338.

“Compared with other sites,Li Du Liquor Making Site has the following characteristics: First, in the term of time Li Du liquor making started from Yuan Dynasty. Second, this site lasted from Yuan Dynasty to the present with a history of seven hundred years, and is not only the most important site in China, but also the first liquor culture site with a long history. Third, this Site boasts abundant liquor making craftworks relics, such as wells, cooking ranges, airing hall, round cellars, distilling facilities, wall bases, ash pits and so on, which clearly show that Chinese white spirit brewing started from small-sized craftworks with paddy as raw materials in South-China to large-sized craftworks in North-China. Fourth, the preservation of the relics on the site is quite considerate; for instance, the fermenting cellars are enclosed by bricks with ceramic glaze end jars. Fifth, the workshop was buried underground with a preliminary calculation of at least 5k, which is the largest one in China so far. Sixth, the large area of underground relics as well as numerous and ancient above ground alcohol shops and streets reflects the prosperity of the ancient Chinese alcohol industry, which developed a school of its own in China.”

Li Du Liquor Making Site “ is distributed in the area from the old workshop of Lidu to the Longevity palace of Qianjie and Houjie. From June to November in 2002, Jiangxi Provincial Archaeological Research Institute of Historical and Cultural Relics has conducted archaeological excavation of 300 square meters at the site. There are totally 11 cultural accumulated layers spanning six main periods including the Dynasties of South-Song, Yuan, Ming, Qing, modern times and the present according to neighboring location and the characteristics of unearthed relics. The relics of the period of South-Song are mainly residential, and those of the following five periods are successive ones of the liquor workshop spanning seven hundred years. The unearthed cultural relics include 350 pieces covering the periods from Song Dynasty, Yuan Dynasty, Ming Dynasty, Qing Dynasty, and Mingguo Period, and are mainly porcelain liquor wares. Among the historic and cultural relics are many ancient architecture complexes of Qing Dynasty, which arose from the industry of liquor making. [Source: State Administration of Cultural Heritage, People’s Republic of China]

“The history of Li Du Liquor Making Site dated back to Yuan Dynasty. The workshops of different periods were established on the original site, following the layout of the preceding period, except for extended areas and a few changes, so all the workshop layouts are well-kept with wells, cooking ranges, airing halls, cellars, distilling facilities, wall bases, slots, roads, ash pits, poles and so on. Moreover, there are representative porcelain alcohol wares of different periods among the unearthed cultural relics, so we can have a clear general layout of this large workshop in different periods, lasting seven hundred years. Lidu town, an ancient and well-known Chinese alcohol commercial town, has still kept a great deal of ancient Qing Dynasty architecture complexes such as streets, alcohol storeroom, selling stores and so on. The well-kept Site proves the ancient record of the prosperity of Lidu alcohol industry, with a high degree of authenticity and integrity. Experts argued that the discovery of this Site is a breakthrough in the archaeological study of Chinese liquor making sites while it is the first liquor making site of small size in our country, and the most ancient site in China so far. The Site of Lidu Strong White Spirit Workshop, as the important national historical site to be given special protection, is being protected with sheds, and a general protection program is being designed.

Sites for Liquor Making in China

Sites for Liquor Making in China — consisting of five different sites: 1) Li Du Liquor Making Site in Jiangxi Province; 2) LiuLing Workshop, Xushui County in Hebei Province; and 3) Shuijingjie Workshop, Chengdu City; 4) Cellar Cluster for Luzhou Laojiao Daqu Liquor, Luzhou City, and Tianyi Workshop for Jiannanchu Alcohol, Mianzhu City, all three in Sichuan Province — were nominated to be a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2008.

According to a report submitted to UNESCO: “Liu Ling Zui Liquor Making Site offers important witness for the research on Chinese traditional techniques of distilled alcohol production, and the development, creation process in the future. Li Du Liquor Making Site, with the discovered cellars, wells, slots, cooking ranges, airing halls, distilling facilities and other relics, has witnessed the whole process of strong white spirit brewing in China. Shuijing Street Liquor Making Site is the material carrier of the essence of Chinese "thick aroma" spirits brewing craftwork, of which the abundant sorts of traces and unearthed relics have provided evidences for traditional Chinese brewage culture. Furthermore, based on the traditional brewage technology, the present "thick aroma" spirits are continuously absorbing and perfect the essences, carrying on and making innovations of the unique connotation of Chinese liquor culture. Luzhou Daqu Liquor Making Site bears a unique testimony to a cultural tradition. The folk culture and traditions that facilitated the formation of the wine culture in this region are especially diverse and peculiar and they in turn can be reflected by social, historical and cultural milieu of people living in this region. The unearthed relics in Jian Nan Chun Liquor Making Site are magnificent in scale and bountiful in brewage heritage. The discovery of these relics gives us a vivid picture of brewage procedures hundreds of years ago. [Source: State Administration of Cultural Heritage, People’s Republic of China]

“The discovered relics in Liu Ling Zui Liquor Making Site constitute a set of intact, peculiar sight of traditional distilled alcoholic beverages workshop. In Li Du Liquor Making Site, the glazed pottery vats with the edge built with laying bricks and distilling facilities built with laying bricks are unique to Chinese alcohol sites and also provide an example of the global alcohol brewing. Shuijing Street Liquor Making Site represents an exemplification of science and technology combination which has a unique style, regional characteristics and cultural values. With the core of traditional distillery craftwork, the site, along with the ancient bodegas which have been used for hundreds of years, is not only the carrier and mine of brewing microbes, but also the scarce material for researching the brewing microbes and the changes of brewage craftworks, as well as the representative of solid biotechnology engineering, hence it has very important scientific values. Besides, the site represents the entire craftwork flow from distiller's yeast making, brewage, lees supplement and materials arrangement to storage, blending, etc., and represents the scientificity and rationality of Chinese liquor brewing technology. Luzhou Daqu Liquor Making Site can serve as an outstanding example of a type of building, architectural ensemble or landscape to illustrate (a) significant stage (s) in human history. Especially from mid Qing Dynasty to early Republic of China, this was a period when Luzhou Daqu had accounted for an unprecedented large share of the city's economy.

“Jian Nan Chun Liquor Making Site also witnessed unique techniques such as batch operation, ferment preparation, fermentation, distillation, flavouring and storage, etc., which cannot be displaced, imitated or copied. In the case of Li Du Liquor Making Site, Because of the prosperity of Lidu alcohol industry, some local cultural forms became flourishing, such as literature, calligraphy and music. The discovery of Shuijing Street Liquor Making Site has provided a powerful material evidence for researching the developing processes of Chinese liquor brewing craftwork and the traditional Chinese liquor culture. No liquor, no ritual. The traditional Chinese liquor culture is bearing the important content of the traditional Chinese Li (ritual) Culture. Meanwhile, the site has important meanings for researching the history and culture in Sichuan area, the social and economic statuses, folkways and folk-customs form ancient times to modern times. So the site is in accordance with the standard vi of the world cultural heritage assessment. Luzhou Daqu is also directly or tangibly associated with events or living traditions, with ideas, or with beliefs, with artistic and literary works of outstanding universal significance. So far, in Luzhou there have been many liquor-praising poems, legends, songs, dances and folk traditions that are a direct indication of the rich liquor culture in this region.”

Jiangdezhen

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Northern Song Junware
Jiangdezhen (140 kilometers northeast of, and 2½ hours by train, from Nanchang) is regarded as the "Porcelain Capital of China" and has been called the "Porcelain City" of China. The home of a centuries-old porcelain industry, it produces four famous kinds of porcelain: "blue and white," "rice pattern," "family rose" and "monochrome and polychrome glaze." Many other kinds of porcelain and porcelain sculptures are also produced here.

Located on the eastern bank of the Yangtze River and ordering Anhui province to the north, Jiangdezhen is where porcelain was invented and first fired from kaolin clay mined nearby. The modern city has a population of 1.5 million people and has preserved an extra-large, complete and complex system of porcelain production and has some nice natural scenery. Jingdezhen was one of the first 24 famous historic and cultural cities designated by the State Council. It enjoys the special honor of the top tourist city and a state ecological garden.

Among the products being manufactured today are not only plates and vessels and exact copies of classic pieces but also bathroom sinks and porcelain products used in industry. Sales in 1999 reached US$96 million but could be better. The quality is uneven and there is lot of competition from manufacturers in Japan, France, Mexico and other places. For more on porcelain See Art, Culture, Arts and Crafts, Ceramics and Porcelain.

Budget Accommodation: Check Lonely Planet books; Getting There: Nanchang is accessible by air, train and bus. Travel China Guide Travel China Guide

Museum of Porcelain is the oldest special exhibition hall of porcelain wares in China. It contains than 18,000 rare pieces of porcelain made in Jingdezhen from the Tang Dynasty (618-907) down to the modern times and tells the history of continuous porcelain production in Jingdezhen.

Admission: Yaoli Ancient Town: 150 yuan; Fuliang Ancient Town: 60 yuan; Porcelain Museum: 50 yuan; Guan Ware Museum: 40 yuan; Forest Park: 50 yuan; Porcelain Exhibition District: 65 yuan;

History of Porcelain in Jiangdezhen

Jiangdezhen (known as Ching-te Chen in ancient and imperial times) has a 1,700 year history of porcelain-making, beginning in the Eastern Han Dynasty period (A.D. 25-220) . During the Jingde years, between 1004-1007 in the Song Dynasty era (960-1279) Emperor Zhenzong (Chen Tsung) declared that Jingdezhen would be the headquarters of imperial porcelain production. Subsequently, the town named itself after the particular portion of Emperor Zhenzong's reign. Porcelain from the imperial plant here was regarded as the best and was reserved for imperial use.

Between 1350 and 1750 Jiangdezhen was the production center for nearly all of the world's porcelain. Jiangdezhen was located near abundant supplies of kaolin, the clay used in porcelain making, and fuel needed to fire up kilns. It also had access to China's coast, which was used for transporting finished products to places in China and around the world. So much porcelain was made that Jingdezhen now sits on a foundation of shards from discarded pottery that over is four meters deep in places. Zhuxianzhen in Henan, Hankouzhen in Hubei and Fushanzhen in Guangdong were listed as the top imperial porcelain towns

From the beginning production at the Ming porcelain factories in Jingdezhen were oriented towards the export market. The factories produced coffee cups and beer mugs centuries before these drinks became popular in China. They also produced plates with Arabic and Persian motifs and place setting emblazoned with European coats of arms. The porcelain trade was so lucrative that the porcelain making processes were closely guarded secrets and Jingdezhen was officially off limits to visitors to keep spies from uncovering these secrets. Over three million pieces were exported to Europe between 1604 and 1657 alone. This was around that the same time that the word "china" began being used in England to describe porcelains because the two were so closely associated with each other.

Pere d’Entrecolles, a Jesuit missionary from France, secretly entered Jingdezhen and described porcelain making in the city in letters that made their way to Europe in the early 1700s. He described a city with a million people and 3,000 kilns that were fired up day and night and filled the night sky with an orange glow. He learned the process but confused the clays. Around he same time that d’Entrecolles was describing porcelain-making in Jingdezhen, Germans working independently in their homeland discovered the secret to making porcelain Large scale porcelain production began in the West in 1710 in Meissen, Germany.

Chinese porcelain dominated the world until European manufacturers such as those in Messen, Germany and Wedgewood, England began producing products of equal quality but at a cheaper price. After that the Chinese porcelain industry collapsed as many industries have done today when underpriced by cheap Chinese imports.

Jiangdezhen remains a major a producer of ceramics today. The sky is filled with gritty smoke from hundreds of kilns from the 150 or so factories that produce more than a million pieces of porcelain a day, half of it for export. The porcelain industry almost died out after the Communists organized porcelain makers into collectives and dictated what designs they should make. Most of the state-run factories are gone (in 1991 all but two of 32 state porcelain factories were closed). In their place have sprung up small factories that are more efficient and able to meet the demands of changing markets. About half the city's urban population of 120,000 are involved in making, painting or selling porcelain.

Imperial Kiln Sites of Jingdezhen

The Imperial Kiln Sites of Jingdezhen was nominated to be a UNESCO World Heritage site in.2017. According to a report submitted to UNESCO: “The major component of Imperial Kiln Sites of Jingdezhen is the Imperial Kiln Site, which fired, produced and served porcelains for the imperial family during Ming and Qing dynasties. It includes porcelain-firing workshops and kilns ruins as well as those abundant porcelain pieces of Ming and Qing dynasties deposited underground. There also exist several civil kiln sites which reflect the system of “moulding by imperial kiln and firing by civil kiln” as well as other important kiln relics showing the imperial kilns' technical origin. Imperial Kiln Sites of Jingdezhen also include sites of porcelain-making raw materials mining and processing, trade associations guild halls, water transportation docks and other cultural relics, which are related to the production and transportation of porcelains. [Source: National Commission of China for UNESCO, People’s Republic of China]

“These heritage sites, scattered around imperial kiln in Jingdezhen and its surrounding areas, demonstrate a complete course of development of the imperial kiln in workshop layout, kiln structure, processing technique, management system and other aspects, and provide concrete evidence for the highest level of porcelain-making craftsmanship in China and over the world. As a whole, they reveal the features and key contents of Jingdezhen as a world porcelain-making centre and an integrated model of China porcelain-making industry.

“Imperial Kiln Site and other major kiln sites in Jingdezhen fully demonstrate the evolution process of China porcelain culture, reflect porcelain-making technique development course from matured to its peak, and genuinely reveal the material and technical foundation of imperial kiln established in Ming Dynasty, as well as its significant influence on the later development of the porcelain industry. The remained porcelain shards existed in the cultural deposits of different historical periods represent the spiritual pursuit of Chinese people and aesthetic taste of different times and uniquely testify the evolution of the Chinese civilization.

“The exquisite craftsmanship and products of imperial kilns make great contributions to China porcelain culture as well as the development of human civilization. The large-scale porcelain export promoted intercultural communication and interaction. It clearly demonstrates China's outstanding contributions to the world trade with porcelain production in the Age of Discovery. Therefore, Imperial Kiln Sites of Jingdezhen is the exceptional testimony of the global influence of Jingdezhen porcelain-making industry.”

Importance of the Imperial Kiln Sites of Jingdezhen

According to a report submitted to UNESCO: “Imperial Kiln Sites of Jingdezhen are a symbol of international cultural exchanges in ceramic art. Porcelain shards deposits and kiln workshop relics reveal the innovation and evolution of porcelain-making techniques and products during the past 500 years when Jingdezhen city was crowned as the world porcelain-making centre during Ming and Qing dynasties. The scale of porcelain shards in Jingdezhen Imperial Kiln Site and the comparison between porcelain specimen and survived exported porcelain prove that these kilns were main production sites of exported porcelains in Ming and Qing dynasties, where porcelains as global commodities disseminating Chinese culture to the world. To some extent, it changed other nations' lifestyles and aesthetic taste and enhanced cross-cultural dialogue. Great contributions had been made by imperial kilns porcelain-making technique to the world civilization. In the meanwhile, the porcelain products of Jingdezhen were influenced by foreign cultures, and further innovated, showcasing the cultural exchange and interaction between civilizations. [Source: National Commission of China for UNESCO, People’s Republic of China]

“Imperial Kiln Sites of Jingdezhen reflect the unique art and culture taste of Chinese society. The porcelain-making technique reflected by the sites of workshops and kilns is a representative part of Chinese culture. Imperial kiln site and associated major kilns demonstrate the overall evolution of porcelain-making technique and management system. The porcelain shards unearthed are embodiment of Chinese people's unique characteristics and personalities, cultural ideology, and the pursuit of artistic life, especially the life and aesthetic preference of imperial family in Ming and Qing dynasties. Hence, imperial kiln and relevant kiln sites are extraordinary testimony of Chinese porcelain culture spanned over a thousand of years from late Tang Dynasty to Qing dynasties.

“Imperial Kiln Sites of Jingdezhen represent the highest standard of Chinese porcelain-making industry in its peak period. They witnessed a historical phase of Jingdezhen, fast growing into the porcelain-making centre of China and the world. The sites of relevant kilns and workshops reveal the material and technical basis of imperial kiln establishment, exquisite porcelain-making techniques and advanced management skills. The layout of imperial kiln and surrounding civil kiln sites reflects the great impact of the imperial kiln establishment on the growth of porcelain industry, and testifies the system of the official supervised porcelain-making, the system of “moulding by imperial kiln and firing by civil kiln”, and other efficient management practices recorded by ancient books and records. The processing, producing, transporting and managing facilities including mines of raw materials, docks, and guild halls demonstrate the complete structure of porcelain-making industry and the scale of production with imperial kilns as the core. These elements jointly illustrate the prominent position of Jingdezhen imperial kiln in the global porcelain-making industry.

For form and design, every kiln site preserves porcelain shards deposits from different periods which illustrate the diverse porcelain product style and type features in respective era. The major kilns and workshop sites by and large maintain the original structure form and production information. For material and substance, main sites were buried underground, thus original materials were mostly preserved; For the traditions, techniques and management system, the historical information such as technological process, firing technique and management system related to Jingdezhen Imperial Kiln Site, has been verified by the archaeological evidence and the historical documents; For location and environment, all the heritage elements remain at their original location, so they jointly illustrate the characteristics of key elements of Jingdezhen as a craft industry complex and its exceptional natural resources.

“The kiln sites as a whole include most traditional porcelain kiln types and illustrate the evolution process of imperial kiln systems during Ming and Qing dynasties. They preserved porcelain shards deposits in a continuous historical period, covering most porcelain types from Yuan to Ming and Qing dynasties, which illustrate the development of Chinese porcelain from mature period to peak period. Compared with sites in the Tentative List, Ancient Porcelain Kiln Site in China, Yue Kiln Sites and Longquan Kiln Sites, Imperial Kiln Sites of Jingdezhen has many advantages: The kiln and furniture reflect advanced technique, the vast products embody aesthetic taste of Chinese traditional culture, and it represents the most complete industry system of porcelain-making craftsmanship in China. Compared with the domestic "Most Famous Five Kilns" (i.e. Jun, Ru, Guan, Ge, Ding Kiln Sites), Imperial Kiln Sites of Jingdezhen has a longer history in ceramic firing industry, more advanced techniques, more variety of product categories, more optimized production management and play a more vital role in the global porcelain-making industry.”

Lushan: UNESCO World Heritage Site

Lushan (in northern of Jiangxi Province, 10 kilometers south of Jiujiang 80 kilometers north of Nanchang) is a 306-square-kilometer mountains park famous for its sheer cliffs, spectacular crags, clear streams and waterfalls. In winter, when it is covered with snow, the mountain is particularly spectacular. The park is also known for its spectacularly-located temples, ancient buildings, ruins, modern villas and stone inscriptions. Lushan (Lu Mountain) National Park has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1996.

According to UNESCO: “ Mount Lushan, in Jiangxi, is one of the spiritual centres of Chinese civilization. Buddhist and Taoist temples, along with landmarks of Confucianism, where the most eminent masters taught, blend effortlessly into a strikingly beautiful landscape which has inspired countless artists who developed the aesthetic approach to nature found in Chinese culture. [Source: UNESCO]

“Lushan National Park occupies a total area of 30,200 hectaresand its highest Peak, Hanyang Peak, is 1,474 meters above sea level. Bordered on the north by the Yangtze River and on the south by Poyang Lake, Mount Lushan presents an integral scene of river, hills and lake, the beauty of which has attracted spiritual leaders, scholars, artists and writers for over 2,000 years.

Mount Lushan has an important place in Chinese history and culture. It is an outstanding representative of Chinese landscape culture, as well as a remarkable model of Chinese academy-based education, and a focal point for the integration of Chinese and Western cultures, once acting as the cultural center of southern China. The significant cultural developments and political events occurring over the course of Lushan’s history have influenced the course of Chinese history.

“The natural beauty of Lushan is perfectly integrated with its historic buildings and features, creating a unique cultural landscape which embodies outstanding aesthetic value powerfully associated with Chinese spiritual and cultural life. Combining nature and culture, Mount Lushan represents the Chinese national spirit and epitomizes its cultural life. The Lushan landscape has inspired philosophy and art. The selective and sensitive integration of high quality cultural properties into this landscape is exceptional testimony to Chinese appreciation of the harmonious interaction of natural beauty and culture.

Temples and Buildings on Lushan

According to UNESCO: “More than 200 historic buildings are located in the Lushan National Park; complexes of prayer halls that have been rebuilt and extended many times to create an ongoing centre for study and religion. These include the Buddhist East Grove Temple complex begun by Huiyuan in 386 CE; the West Grove Pagoda begun around 730 CE; the Temple of Simplicity and Tranquility built during the Tang dynasty as the repository of Taoist scriptures, and the White Deer Cave Academy originally established in 940 CE and revived in the late 12th century during the Song dynasty when Zhu Xi instigated the spread of Confucius’ political and ethical teaching. This complex continued to be extended up to the 19th century to include many temples, study halls and libraries. Criterion (iii): The Lushan landscape has inspired philosophy and art. The selective and sensitive integration of high quality cultural properties into this landscape is exceptional testimony to Chinese appreciation of the harmonious interaction of natural beauty and culture.

“Other important features include the stone single-span Guan Ying Bridge of 1,015 CE and more than 900 inscriptions on cliffs and stone tablets. In addition there are around 600 villas built by Chinese and foreign visitors in the late 19th and 20th centuries, when the area became a popular resort and was, during the 1930s and 40s the official Summer Capital of the Republic of China. The villas reflect various architectural fashions and are laid out within the landscape in accordance with Western planning concepts prevalent at the time.

The building and layout of temples and educational buildings within the scenic landscape at Lushan have created a cultural landscape exhibiting an interchange of values over a long period from the Han dynasty in the late 3rd century B.C. through to the early 20th century. The group of ancient buildings at the White Deer Cave Academy represents the architectural model for Chinese traditional academies. Guanyin Bridge, a stone arch bridge with a rabbet and mortise structure, has played a very important role in Chinese bridge building. The groups of modern villas are a testament to the penetration of Western culture into China’s hinterlands in the late 19thcentury to the middle of the 20th century.

“Huiyuan, who created the Pure Land Sect of Buddhism at Lushan’s Donglin Temple, inaugurated an era of the localization of Buddhism in China. Zhu Xi revitalized the White Deer Cave Academy, making it the model for the popularization of Song and Ming Dynasty Confucian idealist philosophy and the model of academy-based education. His influence continued over 700 years of Chinese history after the Song Dynasty. The Confucian idealist philosophy as interpreted by Zhu Xi, and his educational pattern, spread as far as Japan, Korea, Indonesia and elsewhere, and has played a very important role in the global history of education.”

Yanshan County

Yanshan County (100 kilometers east of Nanchang) was named one of the Top Ten ancient cities and best kept secrets in China. Located in northeast Jiangxi Province, it was built in 953 in the Southern Tang era (937-975) and one of the Ten Kingdoms following the Tang Dynasty (618-907). There is some scenic, rustic stuff here but also a lot of typical Chinese stuff too. [Source: Xu Lin, China.org, April 12, 2012]

Hekou Town of Yanshan County used to be an important distribution center of the nearby eight provinces when water transportation was frequently used. It was also one of the four famous towns in Jiangxi during ancient times along with Jingde Town, Zhangshu Town and Wucheng Town. The ancient street paved with bluestone and granite slabs, the Ming-and-Qing-style architecture, and the stone bridges across the rivers mirror the beautiful scenery of the ancient

Ehu Academy (15 kilometers southeast of Hekou Town) was an academy where the Southern Song philosopher Zhu Xi (1130-1200) did his scholarly research. As famous as Bailudong Academy in Lushan Mountain, Ehu Academy is one of the most well-preserved academies in China, with its original look of 800 years ago.

Dayi Bridge and Dengbo Bridge are two famous bridges in Yanshan County built during the Tang Dynasty. The former, nearly 200 meters long, was originally a wooden and stone structure, but later was reconstructed with bluestones. The latter is a 50-meter-long wooden bridge with nine shops on the bridge. Yanshan County is also famous for its production of Lianshi paper, a kind of high-quality paper used to print books, draw paintings and write calligraphic works. With a history of over 600 years, it is even more precious than rice paper. Other local products of Yanshan County include willow products, bamboo weaving and silk fans.

Poyang Lake Nature Reserve

Poyang Lake (in northern Jiangxi), 40 kilometers northeast of Nanchang) is the largest fresh water lake in China. Located south of the middle and lower reaches of the Changjiang River, it stretches 170 kilometers (105 miles) from north to south and 74 kilometers (44 miles) at its broadest east to west, covering a total area of about 3,841 square kilometers (1,483 square miles) when water depth at Hukou where the lake joins the Changjiang River is 21 meters. Its coast line is 1,800 kilometers.

Poyang Nature Reserve was nominated to be a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1996. According to a report submitted to UNESCO: The lake has been well known as "a land of abundance" and is reputed as a "bright pearl" in the basin of the Changjiang River with its rich aquatic resources and flourishing crops in surrounding fertile lands. The lake area enjoys a subtropical warm and wet climate with suffucuent sunshine, ample precipitation and long frost-free period. The average annual temperature varies from 16.7 to 17.7 degrees C and the average yearly is 1,400 to 1,900 millimeters. From April to June during the flood season, its surface area is considerably expanded forming an endless rippling blue expanse. In the dry season of winter and spring, the water recedes and seasonal small lakes and large marshes appear all over the lake area. [Source: National Commission of the People's Republic of China for UNESCO]

According to preliminary survey, there exist in the lake 25 families of phytoplankton totalling almost 100 species, the dominant being green algae,37 families of aquatic vascular plant with 98 species, the dominant being sedge, Potamogeton malaianus and Vallisneria spiralis; 65 species of mollusca, the dominant being snail and mussel; 21 families of fish with 122 species, the dominant being Cyprinidae. In addition, there is a good supply of silver fish, a famous product of the area. Spreading on the grassland along the banks are 74 species of 25 families of meadow and helophyte plants, the dominant being Gramineae, Cyperaceae, Polygonaceae and Compositae. Such abundant natural resources provide a welcoming habitat for birds, attracting tens of thousands of migratory birds to spend their winter there, thus turning the Poyang Lake into one of the world's most famous migratory birds sanctuaries.

In June, 1983, the People's Government of Jiangxi Province established the Migratory Birds Reserve in the western part of Poyang Lake where most of the migratory birds flock there for winter, and set up corresponding administrations. This Reserve, with Wucheng in Yongxiu County as its center, embraces nine seasonal lakes and marshes including: Dahuci, Banghu, Zhonghuci, Shahu, with a total area of 22,400 hectares. There dwell in the Reserve 150 species of birds among which many are rare ones listed for global protection. In February 1984, 840 white cranes were observed, the largest flock of white cranes ever found in the world. This number has increased considerably in recent years. On 12th of January 1985, a crane inspection de legation from the International Crane Fund witnessed over 1,350 white crane. In the winter of 1985 the number increased to about 1,500. In addition, 20 species of rare birds such as white naped crane, hooded crane, common crane, white stork, black stork, spoonbill, whistling swan, mandarin duck, great bustard and pelican also frequent the area.

The Poyang Lake Migratory Birds Reserve has been visited by specialists and scholars of the International Crane Fund, the International Union for Protection of Nature and Natural Resources, the Hong Kong Branch of WWF, Japan, Sweden, Spain and other countries, and has been highly spoken of by them as a "paradise" and "gold reserve newly discovered". The large flock of cranes stretching over a few kilometers has been acclaimed China's "Second Great Wall". The establishment of the Migratory Birds Reserve offers favourable conditions for both the protection of migratory birds and scientific research on wetland as well as public awareness drives for loving and protecting birds". The area will, as a result, gradually become a center of crane research and wetland education in the southern part of China. It will also become a scenic spot for both Chinese and foreign tourists to view the migratory birds.

Mount Sanqingshan National Park

Mount Sanqingshan National Park (220 kilometers east of Nanchang, half hour drive from the town of Shangrao, ) is a 229.5-square-kilometer park located in the west of the Huyaiyu mountain range in northeast Jiangxi Province. It was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2008 and voted the Fourth Most Beautiful Place in the World by the readers of China National Geographic magazine.. According to UNESCO: The park “has been inscribed for its exceptional scenic quality, marked by the concentration of fantastically shaped pillars and peaks: 48 granite peaks and 89 granite pillars, many of which resemble human or animal silhouettes. [Source: UNESCO]

“The natural beauty of the 1,817 meter high Mount Huaiyu is further enhanced by the juxtaposition of granite features with the vegetation and particular meteorological conditions which make for an ever-changing and arresting landscape with bright halos on clouds and white rainbows. The area is subject to a combination of subtropical monsoonal and maritime influences and forms an island of temperate forest above the surrounding subtropical landscape. It also features forests and numerous waterfalls, some of them 60 meters in height, lakes and springs.

“Mount Sanqingshan National Park displays a unique array of forested, fantastically shaped granite pillars and peaks concentrated in a relatively small area. The looming, intricate rock formations intermixed with delicate forest cover and combined with ever-shifting weather patterns create a landscape of arresting beauty. Mount Sanqingshan’s remarkable granite rock formations combine with diverse forest, near and distant vistas, and striking meteorological effects to create a landscape of exceptional scenic quality. The most notable aspect is the concentration of fantastically shaped pillars and peaks. The natural beauty of Mount Sanqingshan also derives from the juxtaposition of its granite features with the mountain’s vegetation enhanced by meteorological conditions which create an ever-changing and arresting landscape. The access afforded by suspended walking trails in the park permits visitors to appreciate the park’s stunning scenery and enjoy its serene atmosphere.

Hiking at Mount Sanqingshan National Park

A British traveler wrote in the China Daily: “Any ascent to the peak is best begun by cable car.... It takes a good 45 minutes to complete the ride in one of the two-person capsules that endlessly cycle between the foothills and the foot ills that await you when you eventually begin your own two-legged ascent. It is more than enough time to marvel at the succession of natural valleys that suddenly drop out below you, dramatically tugging away the comforting proximity of the terrain in favor of a yawning green chasm, dotted with the distant prospect of doughty locals taking the long way up. Against this natural spectacle, you have an equally compelling view of the sheer bloody-mindedness of the low-tech know-how that must have gone into building the cableway. As something of a footnote, choose your co-cabiner with care-45 minutes is a long time to make small talk. [Source: China Daily, July 16, 2009]

“Scrambling from the cabin at the terminal and blinking up at the summit, it is clear there is still an awful lot of Mount Sanqingshan to go. The rough granite-hewn steps that lead up to the path that circles the mountain are undoubtedly the toughest part of the trip. By turns steep, then steeper still, negotiating the stone stairway is not for the under-nourished or the over-burdened. Depending on your recovery time and need for rest breaks, this part of the tour takes between 45 minutes and an hour and a quarter. Regardless of your respiratory requirements, it soon becomes apparent that Sanqingshan is a very special place...Almost as impressive as the scenery itself is the spectacle of the phalanx of the fruit and vegetable-laden porters that wend their way up the mountainside, balancing some 50 kilograms worth of carrots, potatoes or eggplant on each shoulder. Employees of a rival concern, they are denied access to the cable car and begin their ascent at the very foot of the mountain.

“Circling the mountain requires a full day trip, ideally with a lunchtime stopover at one of the mountain's restaurants. The views are never less than beguiling, though the occasional narrowness of the path and the ever-present proximity of a potential plummet may discourage the faint-hearted....Long before its economic import, the mountain and its environs were sacred to the Taoists. Today the mountain is still home to a number of Taoist monuments and an active temple, where the weary can rest and, for a few yuan, pluck a parchment said to reveal, if a little cryptically, their ultimate destiny. The Taoist legacy is everywhere. Even the mountain's triple peaks are said to represent the religion's "three pure ones", the highest powers in the Taoist pantheon. Such designations are commonplace among the mountain's bewilderingly organic rock formations. "Taoist Priest Worshipping the Moon", "The Monkey King Appreciating Treasures" and "Goddess Delivering Children" are just three of the more bizarre appellations ascribed to the surrounding lower peaks by several centuries of imaginative visitors.

Longhu Mountain Scenic Area

Longhu Mountain Scenic Area (10 kilometers south of Yingtan, 120 kilometers southwest of Nachang) is a beautiful area with Guilin-like rock formations that is regarded as a birthplace of Taoism. Covering a total area of over 200 square kilometers, Longhu Mountain embraces 99 peaks, 24 rock formations and 108 natural and cultural sights. In Taoist culture, red mountain, green jade water and secret cliff graves constitute the “Three Wonders” of Longhu Mountain. Fairy Water Rock and the Elephant Trunk Hill are must-see attractions. The region has many temples, cave complexes, mountains and villages. Mount Longhu also carries great cultural significance as it is a historical burial site of the Guyue people, who placed their dead in hanging coffins on the mountain cliffs.

Longhu is known as one of the Four Sacred Mountains of Taoism. Many Taoist temples have been built upon the mountain. Particularly important to the Zhengyi Dao are the Shangqing Temple and the Mansion of the Taoist Master . The temples of Immortal City and Zheng Yi are said to have been founded by Zhang Daoling, an important Han Dynasty Taoist figure. There are more Taoist temples in nearby Shangqing. One of the temples in Shangqing is mentioned in the beginning of the famous Chinese novel "Outlaws of the Marsh."

In 2010 UNESCO inscribed Mount Longhu on the World Heritage List as part of the six sites that make up the China Danxia landforms.According to UNESCO: “ China Danxia is the name given in China to landscapes developed on continental red terrigenous sedimentary beds influenced by endogenous forces (including uplift) and exogenous forces (including weathering and erosion). The inscribed site comprises six areas found in the sub-tropical zone of southwest China. They are characterized by spectacular red cliffs and a range of erosional landforms, including dramatic natural pillars, towers, ravines, valleys and waterfalls. These rugged landscapes have helped to conserve sub-tropical broad-leaved evergreen forests, and host many species of flora and fauna, about 400 of which are considered rare or threatened.

China Danxia is a serial property comprising six component parts (Chishui, Taining, Langshan, Danxiashan, Longhushan, and Jianglangshan) found in the sub-tropical zone of southeastern China within approximately 1700 kilometers crescent shaped arc from Guizhou Province in the west to Zhejiang Province in the east. The process of its development is characterised by a particular rock sequence, tectonic background, climatic conditions, erosional processes and landforms and these processes have been presented as an interim model.

Due to the combined endogenic (tectonic uplift) and exogenic (climatic, erosion, weathering) forces, and other factors, the Danxia landforms have been developed in red sedimentary sequences continuously from the Neogene until the present. The six component parts represent the most important examples of "least eroded" to "most eroded" Danxia landforms, providing a range of different aspects of the phenomenon, and illustrate both the range of landforms in relation to the forces and processes that formed them, together with a range of associated landscapes.

Hanging coffins are an ancient funeral custom of some ethnic groups, especially the Bo people of southern China. Coffins of various shapes were mostly carved from one whole piece of wood. Hanging coffins either lie on beams projecting outward from vertical faces such as mountains, are placed in caves in the face of cliffs, or sit on natural rock projections on mountain faces. [Source: Wikipedia]

It was said that the hanging coffins could prevent bodies from being taken by beasts and also bless the soul eternally. Spiritually, the Bo people viewed the mountain cliffs as a stairway to heaven and believed that by placing the coffins up high the deceased would be closer to heaven. A practical reason for placing the coffins on cliffs includes isolation, so that they are hard for animals to reach and less vulnerable to destruction.

Image Sources: Wikimedia Commons

Text Sources: CNTO (China National Tourist Organization), China.org, UNESCO, reports submitted to UNESCO, Wikipedia, Lonely Planet guides, New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, National Geographic, China Daily, Xinhua, Global Times, The New Yorker, Time, Newsweek, Bloomberg, Reuters, Associated Press, AFP, Compton's Encyclopedia and various books and other publications.

Updated in July 2020

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