Heshun Township (侨乡和顺镇) is 3 kilometers southwest of downtown Tengchong, Yunnan Province. In history, Heshun folks had a tradition of seeking fortune in South Asian countries, and they had extensive ties with foreign countries.
Relics of Heshun Township include the Wenchang Hall; the ancestral temples of the Liu, Li, Cun, and Zhang Families; and the Wanlouzi Residence Museum, all of which have rich historic and cultural implications. In 2005, the Chinese Central TV Television listed Heshun Township as one of “China’s 10 Most Charming Towns”.
Table of Contents
Maps of Heshun, Baoshan, Yunnan
Geographic location: 3 kilometers west of the county seat of Tengchong
Scenic status: the first of the ten top charming towns in China
Tour time: 4 ~ 5 hours
- Donjing Music is played by local people at the Longtan Pond. If interested, visitors can take a break and appreciate it.
- In Heshun, visitors can taste snacks such as bean jelly with plum vinegar, pollen pini pudding, and roast rice cakes. Visitors can also join in the rice-cake-making by pounding rice in a mortar.
- Along the San hehe River flowing by Heshun Town, visitors will see six huts of different shapes, where women are washing vegetables or clothes. They are a kind of simple structure Heshun men build for their wives to shelter from bad weather when they are doing their washing. So they are vividly called “Clothes-washing Hut”. The huts are a unique sight of Heshun, which shows men’s concern with and care for their women.
Recommended Tour Route
Entrance archway → Shuanghong Bridges → Yuzhou Pavilion → Heshun Library → ancestral temple of the Cuns → ancestral temple of the Lius → ancestral temple of the Lis → Wanlouzi residential house → Ai Siqi’s old house → Yuanlongge Temple → Zhongtian Temple
Overview of Heshun, Heshun Library, Ai Siqi’s residential house, characteristics of civil residential houses, Wanluozi, famous historical figures in this area
Heshun guide: history and what to see
Three kilometers west of the county seat of Tengchong lies the Township of Heshun, which used to be called “Yangwendun Village”. Located by a river, the village got the name “Heshun” (along with the river). The name is also derived from the verse—“The rising clouds herald auspicious future and the gentle breeze brings peace and harmony”. So the name “Heshun” expresses local people’s wishes for a happy life.
For many years, the Southern Silk Route has connected China with Southeast Asia, South Asia, and Europe. Tengchong was a vital communications center of this route. Located on this route, Heshun enjoyed many conveniences for business. It was a standard practice that men should go abroad to make a fortune. From the Ming Dynasty (1368—1644), a growing number of Heshun people went to Myanmar to trade and seek a livelihood. In the early 20th century, more people went to Japan, Europe, America, Hong Kong and Macao areas for a living or for further study. So now the overseas Chinese from Heshun are distributed in Southeast Asia, Europe, America and more than ten other countries, numbering more than 10,000 people. Yet the total population of Heshun Township is only 6,000. That’s why Heshun is known as a famous hometown of overseas Chinese.
Walking along the roads paved with slabs, visitors can fully appreciate the beautiful scenery and rich culture of this little town. At the entrance to the town stands a splendid memorial archway with the four Chinese characters “He Shun Shun He” (meaning Heshun enjoys harmony and peace) inscribed on it. The San hehe River flows by the town from east to west. Over the river are two arch stone bridges looking like two rainbows. Thus the bridges are called “Shuanghong Bridges” (Double Rainbow Bridges). The scenery around the bridges is picturesque, so local people often go there for an outing in spring and for appreciating the moon in autumn.
On the bridge, visitors can see a lotus pond, where there is a pavilion called “Yuzhou Pavilion”. It was built in memory of Cun Shusheng, first principal of Yuqun Middle School in Heshun and then vice president of Yunnan University, which indicates that the local people attach great importance to education and show great respect for teachers. In the pavilion, visitors will see a tablet inscribed with the pavilion name by Chu Tunan, former vice chairman of the standing committee of the National People’s Congress.
Heshun library 和顺图书馆
Not far from the bridges is Heshun Library, the earliest and largest rural library in China. In the late Qing Dynasty, in Heshun there arose a progressive organization called “Xianxinshe”, which aimed at publicizing new ideas and new cultures. In 1924, some Heshun overseas Chinese to Myanmar organized “Chongxin League”, another progressive organization, which started a progressive publication and established a reading club. In 1928, the club was expanded into a library with the joint efforts of the overseas Chinese and the native. The site for “Xianxinshe” was chosen as the site for the library. Many overseas Chinese donated a lot of equipment and books to the library. In 1938, with a growing collection of books and an increasing number of readers, the old library was pulled down, and a new library was erected on its site.
The library is a two-storied building in both West and Chinese styles, with an area of 1,450 square meters. Upstairs are stack rooms while downstairs reading rooms. It houses 70 thousand books, many of which are rare editions of ancient works. The library is honorably filled with the inscriptions by such famous figures as Hu Shi, Li Shiceng, Xiong Qinglai, and Liao Chengzhi. The library is the pride of Heshun people and provides a second classroom for them. Visitors here will see farmers reading newspapers, students reviewing their lessons and other people reading books in the quiet reading rooms. The library is a state-protected relic site.
The rich culture has produced many outstanding people. For example, Li Yuegai, a member of Mr. Sun Yat-sen’s revolutionary organization Tong Meng Hui (United League) and a senior statesman of the 1911 Revolution, was secretary-general of the First Army of the Yunnan Troops for Safeguarding the Republic. He was commended as “Excellent Writer in Southwest China” by Zhang Taiyan for his draft of “An Official Denunciation of Yuan Shikai”. Cun Yu, who irrigated the farmland in Heshun flat valley by channeling the water of the Dayingjiang River and who built the San hehe River by the town so as to supply the villagers with water, was commanded by Emperor Wuzong of the Ming Dynasty. Besides, there were other celebrities such as Zhang Bao-ting, king of Jadeite, Ai Siqi, Li Yuegai’s son and a well-known Marxist philosopher, Cun Shunsheng, late vice president of Yunnan University and a famous educator in Yunnan, and Cun Rudong, a leader of overseas Chinese.
Architecture is another feature of Heshun. There are a great variety of structures such as ancestral temples, memorial archways, platforms, lotus ponds, pavilions, screen walls and stone railings. Most of them were built in the Qing Dynasty and by overseas Chinese. Among them, ancestral temples are the most magnificently constructed. Among the eight temples of eight families in the town, those of Cun, Liu, and Li families are the most representative.
The ancestral temple of the Cuns was first built during the Jiaqing Period of the Qing Dynasty. In 1935, when a new gate was built, some Western architectural elements were adopted to make the gate a successful combination of Chinese and Western architectural styles. Entering the gate, visitors can see an inscribed board by an emperor of the Ming Dynasty to Cun Yu, an ancestor of the family. In the main hall, from a couplet, visitors will know that the ancestor of the Cuns was from Sichuan and he came to Yunnan as a soldier. Outside the hall, visitors will find that the pictures of 24 stories about Filial Piety were used as a decoration; inside the hall, they will see that the Confucianist ethical code was regarded as the family motto. This shows the family has attached great importance to the proprieties.
The ancestral temple of the Lius was built in a valley in the fifth year of Xianfeng Period of the Qing Dynasty. In front of the gate is a semi-circular pond, over which stands a two-arch stone bridge. Between the bridge and the gate is a semi-circular platform. The gate is a decorated archway. The temple is made up of the main hall, wing houses, and passageways. In the gardens are grown such plants as plums, orchids, bamboos and chrysanthemums.
The ancestral temple of the Lis was splendidly built on a hill slope. Walking up a flight of steps, visitors will see a stone memorial archway, through which they will come to a platform. Looking up there, they can see over 30 fan-shaped steps leading up to a decorated archway. That is the gate of the temple. Behind the gate is a spacious land. Walking through the second gate, visitors will find that the main structures are concentrated in the back part of the temple. The main hall with upturned eaves stands in the center. Around it is a spacious garden where various trees and flowers are planted.
Besides, civil residential houses are worth visiting. The most typical is Wanlouzi. The building got the name because its walls were built along the curved alley. Wanlouzi used to be the site of “Yongmaohe”, a firm founded in the Daoguang Period of the Qing Dynasty. The firm was run by two brothers of a Li family and Wenlouzi was regarded as a symbol of prosperity and wealth. Now Wanlouzi serves as a museum of Civil residential houses. In the first courtyard, there is an exhibition about the Li family; in the second, there is an exhibition about civil residential houses; in the back courtyard is a household hotel, where visitors can enjoy the peculiar peace and tranquil of the little town.
Another civil residential house is Ai Siqi’s old house, which lies in Shuidui Village, a picturesque small village in the east of Heshun Town. The house is a siheyuan building in Chinese and Western styles, covering an area of over 600 square meters. As it stands with the Fengshan Hill at the back and overlooks the Longtan Pond, the house enjoys beautiful surroundings. Over the gate is a board inscribed with Ai Si-qi Memorial House. Upstairs, there is an introduction to Ai Siqi’s life and achievements; downstairs there is a show of his manuscripts and personal effects.
The most important temples in Heshun are Yuanlongge Temple and Zhongtian Temple, the former being a Taoist Temple, and the latter a Buddhist Temple. Yuanlongge Temple was built on a hill at the back and the Longtan Pond in the front. Constructed in the Qianlong Period of the Qing Dynasty, the temple is an exquisite building with carved beams and painted rafters. Zhongtian Temple, built in the Ming Dynasty, is situated on a hill slope in the northeast of Heshun. Standing on the platform in front of the temple, visitors can get a good view of Heshun. The temple was destroyed during the Cultural Revolution. But now it has been renovated and attracts a large number of worshippers.
What impresses visitors most in Heshun can be summed up in the word “harmony” —— harmony between man and nature, harmony between Chinese and Western cultures and harmony between the past and the present. So it deserves the honor of the first of the ten top charming towns in China.
Words and Expressions
herald vt. 预示
memorial archway n. 牌坊
a state-protected relic site 国家文物保护单位
an official denunciation of Yuan Shikai 讨袁檄文
ancestral temple 祠堂
screen wall 照壁
ethical code 道德准则
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