--- SEARCH ---
Learning Chinese
Learn to Cook Chinese Dishes
Exchange Rates
Hotel Service

Hot Links
China Development Gateway
Chinese Embassies

Stone Collection to Memorize Past Livelihood Along Three Gorges
The Three Gorges water conservancy project promises hefty economic returns but will lose a wealth of landscapes, both natural and cultural, on the middle reaches of the Yangtze.

Boat tracking, which used to symbolize the Three Gorges and local people's battle against the harsh natural environment, is one of the lovely landscapes to sink into oblivion forever.

Local people have begun to collect stones or boulders bearing the marks of boat towlines, to retain the echo of history.

"The road to Shu (a shortened ancient term for Sichuan) is as hard as to ascend to the sky," a vivid line from one of the most popular works by the great Chinese poet Li Bai in the Tang Dynasty(618-907), depicted the difficulty of passing through the hinterland region via plank roads built on perpendicular cliffs.

But the verse is also apt and appropriate to describe the waterway from central China to the country's southwestern regions, particularly Sichuan.

For centuries, the world-famous Three Gorges, which had long been reputed for rapids and shoals, was the only water route to the province. Traffic on many sections of the Gorges depended on boat tracking.

Usually boat trackers labored forward and towed boats with thick, heavy and rough towropes. Their lowered heads bent down and almost touched the cobbles on the river bank, with sweat swelling and shinning on their sun-tanned backs and tight towlines embedded into their shoulders. The towlines rubbed against stones on the bank and, after years of rubbing, left notches on the boulders or stones, some deep enough to accommodate half a hand.

Many believe that marks left on the stones reveal the untold hardship of survival for the toiling people in the Three Gorges area, making them valuable for conservation.

The boulders, dubbed "boat tracking stones", are seen as "history records" by local government.

Local governments have cut and moved some unique boat tracking boulders to local cultural heritage organizations for preservation before they could be lost as the Three Gorges project started flooding on June 1.

One of the boulders, spotted by a stone collector near Wushan county at the Gorges last November, is estimated at more than two meters height and length, and one meter in width, weighing over 10 tons.

Tang Zhilin, a local cultural heritage official from Wushan county, said that the huge stone has been shipped to Chongqing Municipality, southwest China as an exhibit to be displayed at the Three Gorges Museum under construction.

(Xinhua News Agency July 4, 2003)

Mysteries About Boat of Ancient Ba People
The Haozi of the Yangtze Boatmen
Print This Page
Email This Page
About Us SiteMap Feedback
Copyright © China Internet Information Center. All Rights Reserved
E-mail: webmaster@china.org.cn Tel: 86-10-68326688