April 26, 2010

A Rainy Afternoon in Fuzhou - Visit to Zhenhai Building

The skies broke and a soft early spring rain fell on a very cool (18 degrees celcius) Fuzhou as we slowly crawled by taxis through the streets towards Zhenhai Building which has long been reckoned as a building "overlooking the river and controlling the sea". It was built as a sample tower for all others to follow by Emperor Hong Wu of Ming Dynasty in 1371.


Manicured gardens line the upward winding path towards the Zhenhai Building. We climbed more than 400 feet to reach the top. This building is found within a renown historical and scenic spot in Fuzhou called Pingshan Hill Park.




Buildings in Old Fuzhou were often razed to the ground by fire as they were mainly constructed with wood.  The Seven Jars arranged in the form of a big ladle to convey an implicit sense that holding water just like the ladle are endowed with a magic power to subdue fires. They also convey the best of wishes from the people of Fuzhou.


Photographers Meng Lei and Steve Ling  working hard.


Meng Lei presenting a set of books written by himself and other Sibu writers to Mr. Lu the curator of this building. Looking on are Mr. Deng Wang Chiew and Mr. Tiong Yong Ching.

This three panels are part of 8 calligraphy scroll screens handwritten by Wang Renban a Chuang Yuan (top scholar) of the Qing Dynasty.

This building has undergone many devastation and reconstruction. Today the Fuzhou Municipal People's Government has raised this building by 10 meters of its original height.

This building is located in the north end of the central axis line in Fuzhou on Pingshan Hill ("Screen like Hill") which is like a screen topographically standing up along the north side of the Fuzhou City.

Mr. Lu Mee Soon kindly briefed us on the history of this building. One could listen to him for hours because he has such a great style of relating (impeccable) history to the audience. The tidbits on the huge rosewood table are all Fuzhou products which came in dainty packaging.

According to an ancient geomancer in one historical document "The capital city of Fuzhou was surrounded by mountains except for a locality short of something in the geographical true north hence a building came to complement  the missing link."

Having been there there is no doubt I gained a deep understanding of the word "Fu" or blessing. How blessed are the people of this "city of blessing". The rain seemed to be telling us to stay longer. But as we were hard pressed for time we had to move on.

Sources:
1. http://www.gl.gov.cn/subsute/wqgylc.html
2. Tourist brochure : Brief Introduction to Zhenhai Lou
3. Photos courtesy of Shu Yu Chuang

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

Is Tiong Yong Ching the son of Tiong Chong Tai (whose old house was near Dung Sang Primary School)?

Peter said...

Nice documentary and photos

The Observer said...

A good read. It's like I was there with everyone in the picture.

The way you put it in words is like how a really good teacher of mine (Mrs Koh also known as Madam Au)would when teaching us geography. Helping us study land contours, imagining it with a bird's eyeview and analysing the different types of soil with a worm's eyeview.

The Observer said...

about the soil, it's like i could smell and taste the different types of soil... teachers then are that good...

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Dear Peter
Thanks for your comments. I will try harder yet!!

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Dear Observer
thanks for visiting and your nice compliment.

I knew Mrs. Koh nee Au. She not only taught my daughters but my husband as well when she first taught inMiri!!

She would remain in our hearts as one of the best teachers Sarawak ever produced!

I later taught with her younger sister Miss Au Chin Man.

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Dear Observer
Indeed the idea of using an earthworm and its views to study soils is imaginative and creative! I wish teachers and teacher trainees today can be as creative and dedicated.

cheers to good teachers. We need more and more of them in our society today.

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Dear Anonymous
Sorry I left your question unanswered for a while...a slight oversight.
Yes he is from Dong Sang Road and owns an advertising firm. He is a Fine Art Graduate from Singapore.
Very friendly and hardworking. Is he the one you know?
He is seven generations higher(above) my Chiong generation.