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Home Hangzhou Attractions Ten Classic Views of West Lake Duanqiao Canxue

Duanqiao Canxue (Lingering Snow on the Broken Bridge) Introduction


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Duanqiao Canxue(断桥残雪, the Lingering Snow on the Broken Bridge), or Duan Qiao Can Xue is the fourth site of ten top most classic views of West Lake Scenic Area. It is historically and culturally famous for its snowy landscape. Over the past thousands of years, it was the best site to inspire the elites represented by poets, painters, musicians, Taoists and Buddhists to think about the greatness of nature and the harmony of human and nature. During the snowing time, it is partly hidden and partly visible, and this is the most classic point of the Broken Bridge. After snow ceases, seen southwardly from the top of the Baoshi Hill(宝石山, the hill of treasure), the whole West Lake just looks like a slender beauty wearing a snow-made costume. The white world extends from the foot to the end of the universe, and then what you may think? The faraway broken bridge partially hides and appears in the snow and surface of West Lake, and all is seemingly ice-carved, and then what is your feeling? There is a famous couplet on the columns of Stele Pavilion of Duanqiao Canxue, that is, 断桥桥不断, 残雪雪未残(The Broken Bridge is actually unbroken, and the lingering snow in fact is not lost), and this truly depicts the real charm of this view.

Naturally, the broken bridge is also the most famous site to view the snow landscape of West Lake, and Duanqiao Canxue is also the most valuable sight in West Lake Scenic Area. It is not easily available annually, maybe, for several years, it hardly see such a fantastic view due to lack of snowing in wintertime. There is a traditional saying commenting on the highlighted part of West Lake – the highlights of West Lake is like this, West Lake on the rainy day is more beautiful than it on the sunny day, and the moonlit West Lake is better than the rainy West Lake, while the snowy West Lake is better than the moonlit West Lake (西湖之胜, 晴湖不如雨湖, 雨湖不如月湖, 月湖不如雪湖). In this way, the best view of West Lake is a snowy West Lake.

The Story of Lady White Snake(白蛇传) or Legend of White Snake largely makes the view of Duanqiao Canxue widely famous. Many highlighted parts of the story like the first meeting of Lady White Snake and Xu Xian happened on broken bridge. The name of Broken Bridge firstly appeared in Tang dynasty. Anciently, there was a gate on the bridge, and the gate had an eave. During the snowing period, the eave of the middle section was covered by snow. And the whole bridge seen from afar just had lingering snow on both sides, and looked like being broken. This is the basic viewpoint to explain the origin of the name of the Broken Bridge. Another saying is that the site of Bai Causeway, the highlight of view of Pinghu Qiuyue(平湖秋月) ends here, so it is called the Broken Bridge.

The Broken Bridge located on the east side of Bai Causeway, downtown Hangzhou. In Song Dynasty, it was called Baoyou Bridge(宝佑桥, the bridge of treasured escort). Today’s bridge was rebuilt in 1941. In 1950s, it was resurfaced again. On the northeast side of the bridge, there is the famous stele pavilion of Duanqiao Canxue, and the stele is traditionally called as the Imperial Stele, due to the inscription of Emperor Kangxi, who liked the West Lake very much. In Hangzhou, there are ten stele pavilions respectively located in each view of ten classic sights of West Lake Scenic Area. The broken bridge is the unavoidable part to the Solitary Hill, which is also the best site to view the sight of Duanqiao Canxue.

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Editor: Julius from Mildchina
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