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Home East China Attractions Nanjing Tourist Attractions Mochou Lake

Nanjing Mochou Lake

 

Apart from the Xuanwu Lake, Mochou Lake(莫愁湖) is another natural and cultural landmark of Nanjing. Mochou Lake romantically named after a lady named Mochou in ancient times of China literally means No-Melancholy Lake. Frankly, in the eyes of Nanjing citizens, it is a garden cluster more than a natural lake.

Lake Introduction
A travel landmark in Nanjing
  Lake Story
A tragic story of Lady Mochou




A brief introduction to Mochou Lake



Mochou Lake lies in the west side of Qinhuai River, a cultural heritage of Nanjing. It is a typical classical garden in southeast China with a profundity of history and culture. Up to now, it has experienced more than 1500 years. Nanjing is a famous ancient capital city of China, in particular in the period of Six Dynasties, and at the time, it was named Hengtang, which had a long-term fame even in Song and Yuan Dynasties. In the early Ming Dynasty, Nanjing was the capital of the empire, this lake was unprecedentedly popular. In the reign of Emperor Qianlong in Qing Dynasty, a huge hall named Yujin Hall was established in the garden, and some pavilions were also built in the islets of the lake. Since then, Mochou Lake was accepted as the No.1 Noted Lake in Nanjing.

This big building complex based on the natural lake landscape is highlighted with several iconic buildings like Shengqi Tower(literally the Tower of the Victory in Chess), Shanghe Hall(literally the Hall of Appreciating the River Sight), Shui Xie(literally the Pavilion of the Water), Baoyue Tower(literally The Tower of Hugging the Moon), Guanghua Pavilion (literally The Pavilion of Splendid Glamour), other than the Yujin Hall mentioned above.

The white marble statue of Lady Mochou in Mochou Lake Scenic Zone   An ancient painting highlighted with the portrait of a lady who was said to be Lady Mochou
Mochou's Marble Statue in Scenic Zone of Mochou Lake   An Ancient Painting Portraying a Lady Who Said to Be Mochou



A story that Mochou Lake tells us



Mochou originally was a name of a girl, and later she was widely called Lady Mochou. Lady Mochou was born in Stone City, Hubei Province and proficient in singing. Her songs were recorded in historical or classical literature book composed by the government office of Six Dynasty in charge of collecting folk songs and ballads, or Yue Fu for short. The songs were meaningful and full of tenderness and affection. After the songs heard in capital city Nanjing, Emperor Wu of Liang Kingdom created the related song – The Song of Water in Yellow River. The first line was translated approximately like this: the water of the Yellow River flow to the east, a daughter of Luoyang named Mochou. He compared Nanjing to Luoyang, which was the capital of northern dynasty, and then many scholars or poets mistook that Lady Mochou was from Luoyang. The tearful story as below:

In the infanthood, Mochou’s mother died and she led a life with her father. Mochou was quite gentle and quiet, intelligent and fond of learning. She was capable of picking the mulberry leaf, breeding the silkworm, spinning and weaving and embroidering. She listened and recorded when the neighbor’s children were chanting the articles of the textbook, gradually she could recognize the characters and even could recite some verses. Also, she learnt from his father a skill of picking the herbs and treating an illness. At the age of 15, Mochou’s father died of falling from the cliff when he was picking the herbals in the mountains. She was quite sad and too poor to bury his father. The only way she could choose was to sell herself.

At the time, a businessman surnamed Lu met Mochou was so simple and beautiful, and even sympathized her too much, and then helped complete her father’s funeral affairs, and brought her to Nanjing. Since then, Mochou married to Lu Family and became the daughter-in-law of this businessman.Mochou led a happy life with her husband, and in the next year after her wedding, she gave birth to a son who named A Hou. Though she had a rich life and did not worry about the daily life, she missed her hometown and father very much. To relieve the homesickness, she helped the poor to cure the disease. The cured people always said – When I meet Mochou, I am never worried about my diseases any more, and just like this, she was popularly known.

Merchant Lu used to be an official in the government of Liang State under the reign of Emperor Wudi.One day, Emperor Wudi heard that the peony at the garden of Lu family bloomed (it was said that Lu family situated outside Water-West Gate, or Shuixi Menwai, Nanjing), and it looked so spectacular, and he visited there privately and none of them identified him. Amid visit, he was quite happy with the beautiful blossoms, and asked Lu who the planter was, and Lu answered the planter was his daughter- in-law, and Emperor Wudi was quite curious about this lady and required to meet her. As Mochou appeared in front of him, he was absolutely fascinated by her beauty.

After returned, he missed Mochou so much. For obtaining her, he came up with a deadly trap and murdered secretly the husband of Mochou, and then instantly summoned Mochou to the palace and declared here to be one of his concubines. Mochou was so sorrowful, hopeless and helpless that she thought it was better a glorious death than a shameful life. Finally, she chose to throw herself into the lake to commit suicide. All the neighbors around heard of this heart-broken news felt so furious and sad and gave an unorganized sacrifice to her on the side of the lake. They never trusted that such a great lady died in this lake. And someone said that they heard the sob of Lady Mochou at midnight, also someone said that they saw a boat falling down from the heaven and carrying Lady Mochou up to the paradise. To memorize Mochou, this lake was named Mochou Lake.

Today, in the lotus pond inside the garden of Yujin Hall, a 2-meter-hight white marble statue of Mochou was erected, and it is one of the travel landmarks in Nanjing.


  • Referential Content

A video section themed with the song entitled Mo Chou sung by Zhu Mingying, a famous folk song singer, and she sung this song in the Spring Festival Gala 1984, and this video was re-edited and sourced from the gala show. The whole song strongly and philosophically advocates people had better not worry about the life and tommorrow, and lead a happy and no-worry life.




The poem below in Chinese was composed by Emperor Wudi of Liang Kingdom, whose full name was Xiao Yan. He was quite talented in literature. The poem entitled the Song of the Water in Yellow River to memorize Mochou.

河中之水向东流,洛阳女儿名莫愁。
莫愁十三能织绮,十四采桑南陌头。
十五嫁为卢家妇,十六生儿字阿侯。
卢家兰室桂为梁,中有郁金苏合香。
头上金钗十二行,足下丝履五文章。
珊瑚挂镜烂生光,平头奴子提履箱。
人生富贵何所望,恨不嫁与东家王。



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Editor: Julius from Mildchina
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