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Home Huangshan Attractions Chengkan Village Introduction

Huangshan Chengkan Village Introduction


Huizhou crowned to be the living museum of Jiangnan culture and history, especially the tradition of Wu and Chu States over the thousands of years. Each site of Huizhou can be a display window of glorious history of Jiangnan region. Chengkan(呈坎) Village is one of them. Chengkan is located on the south foot of Huangshan Mountain Scenic Area, which belongs to the list of World Natural and Cultural Heritage Site, and roughly has 15 kilometers far away from Yansi Town, the administrative center of Huizhou district. In 1996, Chengkan was approved to be the historic and cultural zone under the provincial protection of Anhui province. Chengkan village traditionally is considered to be the classic show of natural landscape and Huizhou culture. Zhu Xi, the sage of Neo-Confucianism of South Song Dynasty highly spoke of it in a verse: Chengkan is the hometown of two people of virtue and the No.1 village of Jiangnan region(呈坎双贤里, 江南第一村). This village built against the hills and facing the river, and it has a west-east direction and faces Lingjin Mountain and backs on Geshan Hill. The two sides of the river are Xiajie hill and Shangjie hill respectively. Dragon Hill on the south is opposite to Longpan on the north. Bordering on the river, two sides are closely linked like the traditional chair, locally called Taishiyi(太师椅, the chair of taishi, a position used to be the teacher of emperors or kings). The site of village is just located at the best point of local fengshui. In accordance to the fengshui theory, it is at the middle of Lingxie, the center of fengshui. Furthermore, the name is also combined with theory of eight diagrams, Cheng(呈) and Kan(坎) two opposite terms, and in theory of Eight Diagrams, Kan has an unlucky meaning and symbolizes many sufferings and frustrations. Cheng represents Yang and Kan represents Yin. Cheng is superior to Kan, which means Yang suppresses Yin. It signifies this village will be auspicious.

The Highlights of Chengkan Village

Initially established in the period of late East Han Dynasty and ancient called Longxi(龙溪, Dragon Stream), it is finally named Chengkan in late Tang Dynasty, this village has a history over 1800 years. In late Tang Dynasty, Qiu Yin(秋隐) in Jiangxi and brothers of Luo Family in Wenchang moved to this area, currently it has a population of more than 2,700. Chengkan village is one of the best preserved ancient villages of China. The greatest highlight of this village is its splendid show of ancient architectural complex featured of Huizhou style. Two sits of this village called Luo Dongshu Memorial Temple and Ancient Building Complex of Chengkan Village were both agreed as the two cultural relic sites under the national protection. Chengkan village is naturally unified with natural landscape. Today, the most famous sites of this village are summarized to be Five Streets and Ninety-Nine Alleys. The architecture characterizing the different styles has pavilion, platform, tower, bridge, well, memorial and stages. There are more than 100 ancient building sites established in Ming and Qing Dynasties. The largest characteristic of Chengkan village is its well-preserved architecture of Ming Dynasty. It possesses the various and unique architectural styles. Hence, it has the reputation of The Civil Residence of Chengkan Occupies the First Place in the World. The whole architectural layout is in order. Nowadays, it has more than 200 residential buildings of Qing Dynasty and more than 30 residential buildings of Ming Dynasty. The whole alleys and streets keep the standard in the aspect of materials, and they are all paved with granite strip-style flagstones.

Luo Dongshu Memorial Temple
The delicate architecture and decoration of Baolun Hall, the essence of Luo Dongshu Memorial Hall in Chengkan Ancient Village

God Memorial of Eternal Spring(长春社) and Baolun Hall(宝纶阁)

Changchunshe or God Memorial of Changchun is an old memorial hall initially built in Song Dynasties and restored in Ming Dynasty. It is the only public building to sacrifice to the God of Land in Huizhou and also the site of Luo, Wu and Hu families to sacrifice to gods of earth and grain. In spring, they sacrifice to the god for good weather for the crops; in autumn, they entertain and reward the god over here to show their acknowledgement to the gods. The memorials have a large scale and are comprised of the main gate, main hall, sleeping hall as well as the two-side corridors. The architectural art is quite special and delicate. The grade of the architecture releases the local people to the ancestors and gods. Mansion of Luo Huitai, locally called Laohurun, was a building of Yuan Dynasty, and shaped a square. The site is too towering and beautiful and looks like an ancient castle. The architectural complex of Chengkan built in Ming and Qing Dynasties has a large number, and the diversity of memorials, folk residences, watching tower and stone bridges are also rich. There are 7 civil residences with three floors are well preserved, especially, the mansion stone pailou-style gate of Luo Huijiong or Official Mansion of Luo Yinghe, and wood gate of Mansion of Luo Huibing or Hall of Stone Pillar, dooryard fishing pool of Luo Changming Mansion, dooryard pig crib of Luo Lailong Mansion, and other special unique architectures. The stone carvings, wood carvings, brick carvings and zhexiu board of window are all easily available in Hangzhou. Though seriously destroyed after 1949, the number of ancient buildings ranks the first place of Huangshan city. Baolun Hall originally established in Wangli period of Ming Dynasty is highly featured with its gem of folk colored drawing on beams, which is scarcely seen in China. Since Song Dynasty, Huizhou merchants sprung up at Chengkan village, and the Huizhou merchants preferred Confucianism, and the combination of trade and Confucianism as well as the oneness of Confucianism and administration made the cultural and educational enterprises flourish. So, Chengkan played a leading role in the cultural and history development of Huizhou. In history, many imperial examination winners appeared from Chengkan ancient village.

Luo Dongshu Memorial Temple and Baolun Hall

Luo Dongshu Memorial Temple is the family memorial hall that the descendants built in memory of their third-generation ancestor who was Luo Dongshu. Luo Dongshu was a famous scholar and a resolute recluse in the period of late Song and early Yuan Dynasty, and he refused to be the official of Yuan government. Mr. Luo has a high morality and virtue like Tao Yuanming, a famous old recluse and poet, also owned the talents like Huang Tingjian and Ouyang Xiu. He made a great contribution to Luo family. Hence, the descendants respected him as Confucius. In this way, the memorial temple of Luo Dongshu quite looks like the Temple of Confucius in Qufu. The high-level building and splendid decoration makes this memorial hall quite special in Huizhou. The whole ancient ancestry hall covers a huge area and consists of three lines, and the rear line is taller than the front one. The first line of building is the gate of rite, and the second is a huge hall with the eye-catching inscription board created by Dong Qichang, a master of calligraphist of Ming Dynasty and the calligraphy teacher of Emperor Kangxi in Qing Dynasty. The third line is the hall of Baolun. Baolun Hall used to be the site to sincerely lay or collect the gifts and edicts of emperors to the family of Luo Yinghe(罗应鹤) in Wanli reign(1573 -1620) of Ming Dynasty, and Mr. Luo acted as a high official and awarded constantly. So Luo Yinghe built this hall and named it Baolun(宝纶, Treasured Grace of Emperors). This is said to be the quintessence of this memorial hall. The decoration and carvings are quite impressive and valuable.

Luo Runkun Mansion, Changchunshe(God Memorial of Eternal Spring) and Luo Dongshu Memorial Temple belonging to the sites under the national and provincial protection. The exquisite craftsmanship and splendid stone-carvings, brick-carvings, woodcarvings and colored drawings impressively show the beauty of ancient architectural buildings in Huizhou as well as the feature of this region: Ancientness, Grandness, Beauty and Elegance. The ancient architectural complexes are considered to be the Ancient Architectural Art Museum of China. many celebrities of history left their inscriptions over there such as the handwritings of Dong Qichang(董其昌) and Lin Zexu(林则徐). Chengkan Ancient Village has a developed waterway systems, so there are many bridges such as Huanxiu Bridge, a beautiful one in Yuan Dynasty, as well as Longxin Bridge, a single-hole bridge of Ming dynasty with the largest stone archway in China. There are also three watching towers of Ming Dynasty to hang the lanterns for festivals and prevent from the thieves.

Culture of Chengkan Ancient Village

In Song Dynasty, Luo Tiantie and Luo Tiancheng, two brothers of Nanchang, settled down in Chengkan, and became the forefather of this branch of Luo family. In middle period of Ming Dynasty, they had a large-scale project management to this ancient village and rivers. The basic environment of the ancient village formed the features of backing on the hill, surrounding the water and facing the screen. In history of Chengkan village, a lot of famous figures appeared. high officials, recluses, respectable monks, big merchants, poets, painters, historians, ink-makers and scientists are all available. Luo Ruji(罗汝楫), the minister of ministry of personnel and killer of Yue Fei in Southern Song Dynasty, and Luo Yuan(罗愿), the son of Luo Ruji and a famous historian. They were two people who Zhu Xi highly commented as two people of virtue. There was another famous figure called Luo Ping, one of Yangzhou Eight Weird Figures, who were all the talented elites of Qing Dynasty. In 1970s, a lot of inscription boards were destroyed and currently there are only 28 remained, but it still releases the glorious history of Chengkan ancient village.

Some Huizhou culture learners summarize three points to explain why Chengkan was so special. First, the tradition of Respecting Teacher and Emphasizing Education, which created a perfect environment for cultivating the talents, in ancient times, the red paper pasted on the kitchen was written with five large characters, Heaven, Earth, Emperor, Parents and Teacher(天地君亲师), when the local residents sacrificed to the god of kitchen. They regarded respecting teacher as a virtue. There used to a folk saying, three generations doing nothing to do with education are the same as the pigs, which also releases the tradition of local people to education. Second, the influence of feudalistic culture was the power of their education. The local people of Chengkan were deeply influenced by the feudalistic culture and had a highlighted feature, that is, the strong sense of clan. Anciently, people sharing the same family name lived together and shaped a large group of clan, and this group had its own regulations. The similarity of these regulations was looking forward to their descendents being the official by virtue of education to glorify their ancestry and clan. This is a big impact on the educational development of Chengkan village. Third, the treasure of Huizhou merchants is the foundation and support to the development of education. Huizhou merchants are quite famous for their treasure and their wisdom of investment. They invested their treasure in hometown development and education. This is the important reason why there are so many famous figures appeared here.

The cultural sites under different levels of protection in Chengkan Ancient Village are diverse, and they are not only the witness of history of ancient Huizhou but also the perfect access for modern people to know the glory of Chengkan. The No.1 Village of Jiangnan never lets any visitor down.  

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Editor: Julius from Mildchina
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