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Ancient Villages in Southern Anhui Province


Ladies and gentlemen,

Today,we are going to pay a visit to Xidi and Hongcun Villages.Now,I'd like to briefly introduce these two well-known scenic attractions.Xidi and Hongcun Villages are good examples of Southern Anhui Province’s culture and its unique ancient villages.They and other such ancient villages have their regional and cultural origins in the region south of the Yangtze River and possess special Huizhou cultural features.Xidi village has been reputed as “A Living Ancient Residential Museum”, while Hongcun village is described as “China’s Picturesque Village".Both were added to UNESCO’s list of World Cultural Heritage sites in 2000.

Xidi Village

Xidi Village is in southeast Yixian County,Anhui Province,with 300 ancient houses built in the Ming and Qing Dynasties,124 of which are in perfect condition.The design of the streets and lanes and other houses follows the older pattern,maintaining the village’s ancient style of life and architecture.Foreign experts have declared that “they are the finest examples of ancient residences under best protection and preservation” and are among the most beautiful villages in the world.”

Xidi Village extends 700 meters from east to west and 300 meters from north to south,giving it the shape of a large boat.The village first became prominent during the Ming Dynasty Jingtai Emperor's reign and became highly prosperous from the reign of the Ming Dynasty Jiajing Emperor to the Qing Dynasty Qianlong Emperor's reign.This prosperity was due to the efforts of high-ranking officials and successful merchants.Yet,the strict hierarchy of feudal society was also shown in the construction of residence.The merchants could only choose the best materials and plan most sophisticated workmanship to show off their wealth and position.In Xidi Village,we c an see many examples of fine stone,brick,and wood carvings.

The Archway of Hu Wenguang the Prefectural Governor

The first sight that appears before us when we approach Xidi Village is a high archway-the Archway of Hu Wenguang the Prefectural Governor.It is the archway to the honor of Hu Wenguang’s merits and virtues.In Southern Anhui Province archways are built for different purposes,including loyalty, merits and virtues, benevolence and filial piety,and chastity.Hu Wenguang,a native of Xidi Village,won his position of candidate in the provincial examination in 1555 and was appointed the County Governor of Wanzai County.During his time in office,he ordered that the city walls be built,set up schools,and contributed much to the benefit of the local people.Later,the Provincial Governor recommended that he be appointed Jiaozhou’s Prefectural Governor in charge of oceanic shipping service.Later,he was promoted for several times.In the 6 th year of Ming Dynasty Wanli Emperor's reign,the emperor approved of the establishment of this archway in his hometown to reward his devoted service and efforts for the public interest.

Mansion of the Senior 0fficial

We are now visiting the Mansion where the senior official,Hu Wenzhao once lived in.It was

built in 1619 during the early Qing Dynasty and has a unique feature—a delicate and elegant pavilion extends from the upright wall close to the street.The pavilion hangs there,with a flying-up roof and up-turned eaves and has rails and windows along three sides.Originally, it was used for landscape-appreciation.But later,people used it for silk-ball-throwing,a local practice for matching-making between young man and young woman.Such practice is often described in dramas and novels,as those young ladies of rich and decent families could only arbitrarily decide their marriage by throwing silk-ball to anyone who caught it. This was done because it was hard for such ladies to choose among so many suitors. You can now also take part in this activity and have a bit of fun doing so.

Hongcun Village

Now we are in Hongcun village. Hongcun Village was designed and constructed in the shape of a buffalo. If seen on a higher place, the whole village is like a buffalo lying beside the stream. A hillock in the west stands like a buffalo’s head; with two big trees as tow horns; four stone bridges across Jiyang River are like the four legs of the buffalo; the blocks of ancient houses in the village make up the body; while a 1,000 meter long stream winding among the houses is just like the bowel of the buffalo; a pond in the shape of a half-moon is the stomach, and a larger pool in the south of the village is the belly of the buffalo. The local people used their intelligence and diligence to design and construct such a buffalo-shape village.

Chengzhi Tang (Ambition Hall)

Please look at the building. It is called Chengzhi Tang and was built in 1855. It served as the residence of the well-known Qing Dynasty salt merchant, Wang Dinggui. According to an old local saying, “There is no town but with Huizhou-style buildings and there is no business but with merchants from Yixian County.” It is obvious that Yixian County men played a very important role in the Huizhou business community. Wang Dinggui was a shrewd salt trader and made large profits from it. In order to honor his ancestry, Wang constructed magnificent residence in his hometown.

Now we are in the center of the courtyard, and here Chengzhi Tang’s main hall. The door frame and porch are decorated with wood and brick carvings of vases, ancient plum flowers, the Eight Immortals, and the like. On the two sides of the gate there are the carvings of “Carp Jumping over the Dragon Gate”, symbolizing the owner’s political ambitions after his success in the business world.

The tour of Xidi and Hongcun villages now has come to an end. Thank you all. I hope you can remember the beauty of the ancient villages in Southern Anhui Province and expect you will come back to visit here again.








大家现在参观的是大夫第。它建于清康熙三十年(公元1 61 9年),为朝列大夫胡文照故居。大夫第有个突出的特点,就是在临街墙的平面,悬空挑出一座小巧玲珑、古朴典雅的亭阁式建筑。阁顶飞檐翘角,三面有栏杆、排窗,显得突兀别致。这座悬阁危楼原本是用于观景的,但后来人们便把它作为抛彩球的绣楼了。抛绣球这种事,大家在小说和戏剧中都看到过的。大多是这些待守闺中的小姐,或者因求婚者多,且多有权势,如何抉择左右为难,或者是因待守少女择婚主张与父母意见不合,爱女也许早有意中人,于是便出现了抛彩球选婿这种戏剧性做法。现在有兴趣的朋友也可以参与一下,看看自己的运气如何。




大家请看这座建筑,这是承志堂,是清代大盐商汪定贵的住宅,建于清咸丰五年(公元1 855年)。有句古语叫“无徽不成镇,无黟不成商”,可见“黟县帮”当年在徽商中的重要位置。据说汪定贵为人精明,经营盐业发了大财,为了光宗耀祖,便在家乡大兴土木,建造豪华住宅。





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