Chongqing- The frontier city of Xiushan is located at the intersection of the four provinces of Chongqing, Hunan, Guizhou, and Hubei. It is well-positioned, rich in resources, wealthy in humanity, and beautiful in scenery. It is also known as the ‘Pearl of Wuling.’
Nestled among the hinterlands of Wuling Mountain, the wondrous tourism resources include the beautiful Youshui River, the picturesque dragon and phoenix flowers, and the scenes of water meandering through mountain passes.
Xiushan is home to a large population of ethnic minorities with a rich heritage of folk customs.
The ancient towns possess a wealth of culture. The lantern operas are famed home and abroad, while Tujia brocades, golden pearls, Miao embroidery, traditional foods nourish the body and soul.
Generations in Xiushan have inherited the wisdom of ancestry through dedication and sweat to create a better tomorrow with their hands.
Welcome to Xiushan County!
In Xiushan, there are two ancient towns. One inherits wisdom, while the other conveys love.
The streets and alleyways are paved with bluestone slabs in a criss-cross pattern. The wooden buildings feature black tiles with elegant and straightforward eaves, while the wood carvings on door lintels vividly display antiquity.
Xiushan West Street is where the inheritance of ancestral wisdom is to be found. The plank wharf, covered bridge waterfront, ancient streets, temples, wooden buildings, stone steps, white tiles, carved beams, wall paintings, as well as the businesses and folk customs have etched the passing of history into this idyllic location.
Over a period exceeding 300 years, Xiushan West Street was formerly the local center for politics, business, culture, and education, so an exploration of Xiushan West Street makes people remember the past while cherishing the present.
There are ancient buildings with strong ethnic characteristics in Hong’ an Ancient Town features the strong ethnic building traditions of ‘Diaojiaolou’ stilted buildings and fire barrels.
In the long river of history, the ancient town has experienced many generations of change. In October 1949, the army of Liu and Deng was dispatched to the southwest to liberate Hunan peacefully. On November 6, the vanguard entered Sichuan and took control of Hong’ an, liberating Xiushan the next day.
Now, the Reconstruction Bank and the Red Army Headquarters have been restored in Hong’ an Ancient Town and has become an educational base of the Red Revolution.
The ancient town of Hong’ an is picturesque. Upon the sparkling Qingshui River waters, the ‘Laladu’ ferry continues to sail leisurely onward, having been witness to endless moving tales of history.
Among the scenic lands of Wuling, nature has not withheld the slightest embellishment in mountain and river landscapes. View the azaleas in spring, enjoy gesang in summer, admire the Ba Mao pastures in autumn, and delight in the snow and ice of winter.
Climb high onto the peaks and watch over the clouds and mist at daybreak or sunset, and gaze up at the starry skies.
Chuanhegai is a top destination to check out. In the mountains of the Wuling Mountains, plateaus are usually referred to as covers (Gai). With an average elevation of 1,200 meters and an annual temperature of 12.1 degrees Celsius, the Chuanhe Gai Scenic Area is an ideal summer resort. It is known as the ‘Garden Hanging in the Clouds.’
It has a breathtaking table mountain topography, including the only large scale alpine ecological landscape in southeast Chongqing, adorned with grasslands and seas of flower. There are natural stone wedge landscapes, underground rivers, and natural caves, as well as peculiar landscapes such as the Longdong Terraces.
Youshui River, also known as Beihe, originates in Enshi, Hubei Province. It flows through Youyang and Xiushan before finally joining Dongting Lake. It is one of the five renowned streams of history. It was named Youxi in ancient times and has long enjoyed the glamorous reputation as the Jade Belt of Wuling.
The Dragon and Phoenix Flower Sea is located in Qingxichang Town. It is fertile land and is known as the granary of Xiushan. The mountain people grew rapeseed in winter and rice seedlings in spring as nourishment from this land of fertile soils.
Here, the golden sunshine and spring breezes show off the 20,000 mu of rapeseed flower blooms in all their glory, giving people the illusion they have been set within a landscape painting, one of the top ten beautiful pastoral scenes of China.
There are also the tombs of King Miao, and ancient tunnels left over from the Southern Song Dynasty. Visitors can also explore the sights of Kezhai Fengyu Bridge, Yang Family Courtyard, Tian Family Courtyard, and Kongmingdong, the site of Zhuge Liang’s southern conquest 1800 years ago. The national, ethnic villages are beautiful in their simplicity, such as in Heihuzhai.
Folk culture has been passed down through generations over thousands of years. Bamboo weaving is the most practical of arts because the material has good flexibility and shaping qualities. As a result, it is an ideal material for weaving.
In Xiushan, ancestors took the value of bamboo to extremes. They used it to transport goods, steam dumplings, and create household utensils such as dustpans, mats, and baskets. In the homes of villagers, the hallmarks of bamboo weaving are ubiquitous.
Xiushan bamboo weavers are excellent in workmanship, with Huabeizhu and Luozhu as fine examples.
According to the local ethnic minority customs, when a daughter is married, the family must give her a colorful weaved basket to wear on her back when carrying a child and going to market. The frame is exquisite in both appearance and artistry.
In the past, the function was comparable to that of fashionable women’s handbags today, and also serves for decorative purposes. Due to advancements in science and technology, and the improvement of water quality, beautiful young daughters-in-law no longer attracts the attention of passers-by with colorful baskets. Instead, plastic and metal have taken the place of bamboo woven products. However, the traditional industry of Xiushan bamboo weaving has endured for a long time, and they now glow with renewed vitality.
Xiushan lanterns play an essential role in ancient folk song and dance, as part of the invaluable cultural heritage in China. They feature in dragon performances, as well as flower lantern group dances and solo opera.
To preserve the intangible cultural heritage of Xiushan lanterns, the local government, literati and artistic workers have combined their energies to promoting them in primary and secondary schools, whilst also organizing flower lantern classes in vocational schools to cultivate future successors in the art form.
Specialty products of Xiushan
Xiushan Maojian is a public tea brand created in Xiushan. The leaves are produced in the mountainous areas at altitudes between 500-800 meters. The dry tea has a tight and uniform appearance, is fresh and green in color, and produces a long and pure aroma of chestnut. When infused, the bright yellow-green tea has a smooth, mellow taste, as the tender green leaves sit at the bottom of the cup.
Lonicera japonica has been known as good medicine for clearing heat and detoxification since ancient times and is a characteristic industry of Xiushan. It can be used to alleviate fever and many venereal diseases, such as body heat, rash, and spotting to remarkable effect.
Golden silk chrysanthemum is golden in color, fragrant and sweet. It is said that a single flower can be infused seven times without discoloration. The flavonoid content of the golden chrysanthemum is exceptionally high and is rich in various amino acids, vitamins, and trace selenium.
The technique behind Miao embroidery has been passed down from generation to generation by the Miao people. In recent years, Xiushan has established professional cooperatives to cultivate embroiderers to inherit and carry forward this skill, while also helping minority women to start their businesses.
From ancient times to the present, bamboo has always played an essential daily role in the lives of Chinese people. Xiushan bamboo weaving is famous for the wide varieties and excellent workmanship.
Dragon phoenix candles originate from Longfeng Village, Xiushan, and are a folk craft that dates long into history. The decorative patterns consist of dragons, phoenixes, and flowers, which confer best wishes for future prosperity.
Tujia Brocades are ancient wooden looms donned by women of the Tujia nationality and are woven entirely by hand to make crossing patterns of colored silk and cotton yarns.
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