Ancestral temples and an old library.
Ancestral temples and an old library.
The preserved village of Heshun (和顺 Pinyin: Héshùn) is a popular tourist destination and also mass tourism has taken over there is still a lot of atmosphere, this especially ones the tour busses have gone in the afternoon and before they arrive in the morning. It is therefore recommended to stay overnight in the village.
Heshun prospered from trade with Burma and from the many overseas descendents that have still family in the little village. Money sent by them for instance made it possible to build a public library and several ancestral temples and family mansions.
Heshun has a museum dedicated to the Chinese communist philosopher Aisiqi.
The most prominent spots along the river have been taken over by newly constructed old buildings selling the usual tourist stuff and jade, the specialty of the area. Ones passed this one can turn left around the big reservoir to the ancestral temples and the Aisiqi museum, or turn right to the old library and the 'Yunnan-Burma anti Japanese war' museum. Going straight brings one in the old village with its narrow cobbled alleyways. Cars and busses stay in the parking lot just in front of the village. Inside the village most motorised transport is by motorbike also some locals use a car, most however just walk. The village has an area entry of 80 RMB/person.
Heshun has several ancestral temples. The majority of ancestral temples in China were destroyed or damaged during the Cultural Revolution but the ancestral temples of Heshun have fared better. The remoteness of Heshun might have protected them.
There are three large ancestral temples that have been built with money sent back by Heshun villagers that sought and found their fortunes elsewhere. This resulted in larger than usual and rather elaborate constructions.
Also some of these buildings have been used for other purposes like tea house. They are now, or already have been, restored to their former glory.
All three of them are build into the hillside next to the village and are overlooking the reservoirs that provide water to the fields below the village.
The three ancestral temples are:
Qian Qiu Wan Ci ancestral temple ("Memorising the ancestors for thousand years" temple).
Yuan Long Ge ancestral temple ("Original Dragon" Temple).
Dao De Kai Ji ancestral temple ("Morals are the base of the family" temple)
All temples are Daoism based with Buddhist influences. This mix is quite normal in Yunnan.
A proper library is a remarkable feature in any rural village and the Heshun Library (和顺图书馆, Pinyin: Héshùn tú shū guǎn) is such a remarkable feature.
Completed in 1928 and containing about 60,000 volumes it aided the spiritual development of the people of Heshun in this isolated and rural part of Yunnan.
The library was largely paid for by overseas members of the Heshun clans and it contains rare copies of Chinese books of the time.
The building was very modern at the time with its large windows to let light in.
In 2012 the library, suffering from woodworm, underwent an extensive renovation.
Àisīqí (艾思奇) is the penname of Li Sheng-Hsuen (李生萱), 1910–1966), Yunnan Mongol Chinese philosopher and author.
Aisiqi was born in Yunnan, later he moved to Hong Kong, where he studied English and French at a Protestant school and was exposed to Sun Yat-sen's "Three Principles of the People" and Marxism.
He read a great deal of Marxism, including the "Communist Manifesto" . This reading is the root of Aisiqi's most important works Historical Materialism and Dialectical Materialism (歷史唯物主義與辯証唯物主義) and Philosophy for the Masses (大眾哲學)(1948).
A small museum dedicated to the life and work of Aisiqi is located in the house in Heshun where he lived for two years.
The museum contains personal effects and pictures of Aisiqi and his wife. Especially impressive are the very long but very detailed pictures of communist party conferences that Aisiqi attended. The outside yard has a statue of Aisiqi.
The Wanlouzi (弯楼子) or Wan Family House is now the "Heshun Residence Museum". It still has the original kitchen in one of the courtyards.
The house was confiscated during the revolution and later ransacked by the Red Guards but still is a nice example of an upper-class residence.
During the day there is plenty of Chinese snack food available for the visitors that come for the day to Heshun.
There are not many real restaurants in Heshun but plenty of places to get something to eat. Food mainly means local rural dishes of fresh vegetables and pork. The mild climate of the area guarantees a steady supply of fresh vegetables year round.
Some guesthouses offer food as well.
Breakfast means noodle soup, steamed buns or Chinese congee.
There are several guesthouses in Heshun. Most are very small with only a few rooms. Most guesthouses are full of atmosphere and the fact that Heshun is largely car free keeps out the hordes of tourists. This means as well that one has to carry ones stuff up to the guest house.
Most guesthouses are newly build traditional houses with high level of facilities.
Location: 25°00'50" N. 98°27'27" E.
Altitude: 1580 meters / 5183 feet.
For an article on Heshun on the GoKunming website click here .
Tengchong Laofangzi or "Old houses in Tengchong" is an overview of old houses in the Tengchong area including Heshun.
It describes the Library, the Ancestral Temples, Aisiqi's house and the Wanlouzi.
The book has many pictures of the excellent wood carving work found in these old buildings.
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