Day By Day

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Return to China -- Part 27, Black Dragon Pool

Next we traveled to the Jade Spring Park [Yu Quan Gong Yuan] at the foot of Elephant Mountain. It dates from the eighteenth century [Qing Dynasty] and includes several ancient structures that had been brought there from other parts of China.

From the park you can get a wonderful view of the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain in the distance. This day, though, it was still shrouded in clouds and only one peak showed through.

The entrance to one of the most beautiful places in China.

Our first stop was at a small museum illustrating the history of the Dongba culture [an offshoot of the old Naxi religion that embodies aspects of Buddhism, Daoism, and Lamaism]. This picture shows some of the Naxi hieroglyphs.

An interior view of a traditional Naxi dwelling.

Naxi sculpture -- tree roots carved into the likeness of dozens of birds.

The term "Dongba" refers to the shamans of this culture. They combine functions of witch doctor, scholar, artist, and craftsman. This elderly gentleman was presented to us as an authentic Dongba. His pictographs were for sale as were many of the other items on display. Yes, it was another shopping opportunity.

From there we entered the main portion of the park and walked around the Black Dragon Pool [Heilongtan]. One of the leaders of our group described Lijiang as a "Wow, wow, wow" place. That certainly applies to this gorgeous park. Everywhere you looked you saw beauty. The pool and the springs that feed it are sacred to the Naxi people who believe that their gods reside there. I can see why.

This spring is supposedly the lair of the Black Dragon.  He apparently was out when we visited.

Lots of locals hang out in the park. I don't blame them. So would I if I lived here.

Tai Chi in the park. One of the members of our group was himself a Tai Chi master. We watched this gentleman perform his exercises and my friend expressed the opinion that the old man was very good. He was extremely limber. At one point he extended his leg and then reached out and slapped the sole of his foot. I am humbled.

The white marble bridge leading to the "Moon Embracing Pavilion" [Ming Dynasty].

A perfect setting for a light lunch. I would have stopped, but we had to stay with the group.

The Deyue Pavilion at the end of the marble bridge.


I would have loved to linger, but we were on a schedule so it was back on the bus and off for the hotel where we would spend the night. Many of the group took the opportunity to explore the streets of Lijiang. I was still under the weather so I went to bed and slept until morning. Someday I want to return -- preferably in the fall when the leaves are changing.

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