首页  »  会馆之旅


Memory of City
Commentary on TV Show Huguang Guild Hall
1、 伟大的历史遗产  Great Historical Heritage
On the scenic Yuzhong Peninsula and at the bank of the ever flowing Yangtze River, an ancient architectural complex stands practically still. For hundreds of years, she was a faithful company of the city, witnessing the sufferings and glories in the past, as well as the success and prosperity today.

This is Huguang Guild Hall of Chongqing, the largest ancient guild hall complex in China.
Huguang Guild Hall is situated at Bajiaoyuan near East Water Gate, which is close to Chaotianmen Wharf. The Hall dates back to over 300 years ago. First constructed in the reign of Kangxi of Qing dynasty, it was expanded and renovated in the following Qianlong, Jiaqing and Guangxu reigns. Leaning against the mountain and neighboring the river, the hall features in high walls, quiet yards and classic styles.
In 1999, Overall Strategic Development Planning of Chongqing Cultural Heritage, a program funded by World Bank, embraces Huguang Guild Hall as a candidate and preludes the beginning of the protecting project.
In December 2003, Huguang Guild Hall Renovation Project, with an investment of RMB 100 million, was formally launched. With the devotion from talented artisans all across China and foreign experts, the project was finished in September 2005. Hundreds of years past, the new hall now welcomes tourists from home and abroad amazed by architectural techniques and historical inflections.

万家灯火气如虹,Lights of thousands of families form the magnitude of rainbow,
水势西回复折东。From west to east the currents of the Yangtze River flow.
重镇天开巴子国,This is the stronghold, the Heaven-blessed capital of Ba Kingdom,
大城山压禹王宫。Where stands Yu King Palace, leaning against the mountain.
楼台市气竽歌外,From outside the mansion people hear the melody of songs,
朝暮江声鼓角中。Accompanying the waves of the river are rhymed drums.
自古全川财富地,Since the ancient times it is a fortune and wealth land,
津亭红烛醉东风。With celebrities drunk at the banquet, wine in hand.

This poem written by Zhao Xi, a renowned poet at late-Qing period, gives a vivid description of Chongqing, the waterfront mountain city, as well as Huguang Guild Hall. The last two lines of the verse prove the specific role of the hall in the prosperity of Sichuan area in ancient times.
2、倾听岁月的回声 Echoing the Past Ages
Covering an area of above 8000 cm2, Huguang Guild Hall includes Yu King Palace, Qi’an House, Guangdong House and some new-built houses. Inside the hall are ancient architectures and cultural relies exhibitions, together with facilities for commercial reception and entertainment, which make the hall a multi-functional center combing tourism, culture, commerce, leisure and museum, and a window of displaying the architectural, immigrants, Guild Hall and traditional folklore culture.
At the entrance of the hall, three gates are carved out from the wall in color yellow. The gates are decorated with exquisite wooden sculptures and stone carvings.
Crossing the gate, you will find Immigrants Museum with 4 separated halls, concerning the immigrating movement of “Huguang-Sichuan Population Influx”: the reason, social background, social impact and special displays. Besides the traditional pictures, words and other cultural relics, internet system and other hi-tech facilities are employed. Through touching screen, audiences can make acquaintance with history and folksongs. Moreover, they can join in some interactive experiences like tracing back the ancestors or the origin of their family names. 
The term of “Huguang” comes from “Huguang Administrative Province” set up in Yuan dynasty, covering Hunan, Yunnan, Guizhou and Guangdong. In early Ming dynasty, after many years of unrests and wars, Ming government migrated the citizens in Jiangxi and other provinces to Huguang area, and grants their rights to “keep and cultivate on their own land”. At the end of Ming dynasty and early Qing dynasty, Sichuan province, after the sufferings of wars, famine, plague and beasts, has a shrinking population of only 600,000. The Qing government encourages citizens from other provinces to cultivate the land of Sichuan, a well-known incident afterwards called “Jiangxi-Huguang Population Influx, Huguang-Sichuan Population Influx.”
Actually, many immigrants came from Shaanxi, Shangdong, Anhui. With their till and toil, the economy of Sichuan was recovered, which formed a strong economic foundation and cultural prosperity for the powerful Kangxi and Qianlong reigns, and had far-reaching impact on various fields of the place.
According to the record of Three Provinces Border Defense Book, Vol.11 of Qing dynasty, “immigrants move into Sichuan via the route of Xi’an, Fengxiang from the north, Shangzhou, Xunyang from the east, and Chongqing, Kuizhou, Yichang from the southwest. Flocks of people, with elders and kids hand in hand, fills in the byways. They cannot afford the guest houses, but sleep at night in temples or woods along the way, piling up stones as stove and picking dry bush as fuel…” The citation is the faithful depiction of the immigrants on their trails. Among them, Liu Xiubiao from Nanling made his fortunes with wine brewing and Chen Hongyi heading for Qijiang, set up his postal services covering the whole Sichuan and became a legend of honest, industrious businessman.
如今,无数的人们到这里寻根。川流不息的游客将目光专注地锁定一件件文物:古朴的马车,粗犷的犁铧、硕大的米斗、粗长的秤杆、别致的竹筐、精巧的烟斗、青花的瓷缸、褪色的家谱、残损的县志  ……人们顾盼流连,指指点点,议论纷纷,如逢故人。
Today, numerous people come here to find their roots. They fix their eyes on the records of history: simple carriage, gross shovel, huge rice measuring, long scales, lovely bamboo basket, tobacco pipe, white-and-blue vat, wrinkling family book, ragged local memoir...People recollect the fragments of history through these displays. 
These old but new mansions, palaces, pavilions and corridors echo the past ages. Through the lens of these items, people catch the faraway images of their homeland hills and valleys, stretching mountains, sails and boats on Dongting Lake and currents and turbulences on Three Gorges…
3、精美的文化瑰宝 Exquisite Cultural Treasures
Yu King Palace is the largest ancient architecture in Huguang Guild Hall, with sacrificing and worshiping area, meeting hall, sitting hall, guest houses and kitchen. Facing the south and leaning against the mountain, the palace is a fine combination of traditional temple and compound houses with royal magnitude.
Yu King Palace is also called Lianghu House, with the name dating back from Yu a great king in ancient Chinese mythology. Hunan and Hubei areas are the victims of flood due to the crisscross rivers in the region, while Yu King is an expert in curbing the flood. In front of the palace is tri-layer flying roof stands aloof. A close observation gives a clearer sight of the roof as three golden dragon roaming in the cloud. Two stone stairs are paved in front of the palace, outer stairs having 9 stone steps and inner stairs with the shape of “Danbi” the stone stairs for ancient royal palace, which signify the magnitude, authority and solemn power of Yu King.

The opera-performing mansion on the right of Yu King Palace is called “Yishang Pavilion”. The stage is 2 meters high with fine carvings on the floor, light carvings of opera characters on the lower side of the roof, and Eighteen Buddhist Disciples” and “Eight Immortals crossing the Sea” patterns on three sides of the stage border. The mansion also features in two flying roofs each supported by two columns carved with the pattern of deer and curving clouds.   

The audience benches in front of the stage is now a tea house, tourists can enjoy the relaxation with a cup of tea and the performance of tea show, Pipa playing, Beijing opera and Sichuan opera. The aroma of tea and melody of music bring people back to their childhood memories.
题为“奎璧之府”的青石大门与禹王宫茶馆仅一巷之隔, “奎”为二十八星宿之一,《孝经》曰“奎主文章”,奎星即文曲星。《史记正义》曰:“奎,天之府库”;“璧”为贵重礼器,也是美玉的通称。“奎璧之府”象征着文化和财富的联姻,也暗孕着美好与吉祥。
Across the lane from the tea house, there is a stone gate titled “House of Kui and Bi”. “Kui” ranks among the 28 constellations or the symbol of literacy, as the words shown in Classics of Filial Piety , “Kui in charge of literature”, and in Historical Records, “Kui, the treasuring house in heaven”. “Bi”is the valuable ritual vessels and another name for jade. “House of Kui and Bi” is the symbol of culture and wealth. 

Inscribed Board Museum stands on the other side of the Yu King Palace, displaying 69 board from Ming dynasty to Republic of China, with the content of praising, business promoting, study encouraging, house naming and birthday greetings. These ancient inscribed boards have rich anecdotes under fine calligraphy, for instance, a board inscribed “Two Lives” may puzzle you at the first sight, behind which the story makes you astonished. In fact, it was presented by a recovered patient to his doctor who healed his sickness and made him feel as if living a new life.
Qi’an House, also called Huangzhou Hall and Kings Palace, worships “Three Eternity Emperor” in charging the god of heaven, earth and water. “Qi’an” is the name of Huangzhou in Tang dynasty, so that Qi’an House built by celebrities of Huangzhou is the guild hall for businessmen from Hubei.

The ancient architecture of Qi’an House, little smaller than Yu King Palace, is well preserved, with opera mansion, ceilings, audience wings, main palace and attached houses. The opera mansion is the feature of the house. It is a typical Qing-style architecture with flying roofs and wooden structure glazed tiles. The stage is 7.5 meters wide, 9.5 meters long and 2.8 meters high. Supported by stone-carved lotus, the round columns support the roof and on top of it, the bean end stands dragon heads and flying eagles. Three side of the stage are decorated with wooden carvings and even the lower part of the roof is carved with the stories from the opera, such as “Dong Yong sells himself to buy the coffin to his past father” of East Han dynasty, “Yang Xiang kills the tiger to save his father” of Jin dynasty, two stories from Twenty-four Filial Piety. The rim of each pattern has the image of bats symbolizing fortune.
Among the fine wooden sculptures around the mansion, there are two striking works each carved with 3 words, one is “Fragrant Breeze Gate”, the other is “Apricot Flower Village”. The former depicts the walls of ancient Chongqing City and randomly organized folk residence, with “Fragrant Breeze Gate” carved on city gate. According to the historic records, there were four gates named “Fragrant Breeze”, “Qiansi”, “Hongya”, and “Zhenxi” in Song dynasty. And in Ming dynasty, Chongqing had 17 gates with “Fragrant Breeze Gate” as the best. This piece of work is the evidence of city construction of the city with great historical and artistic values.
The latter “Apricot Flower Village” borrows the lines of Pure Brightness by Du Mu the great poet in Tang dynasty, “I ask for the whereabouts of the wine house, the young shepherd points at Apricot Flower Village”. According to the research, this poem describes the life at the hometown of the immigrants, since Apricot Flower Village is now at Qiting Town of Macheng County, Hubei Province.
The supporting columns on both side of the mansion are carved with the pattern of dragon and phoenix, with dragon laying on the ground and phoenix flying in the sky, which is a peculiar arrangement in ancient times. The reason is that people from Xiang and Chu of north China cherish the phoenix too much, and they even treat the pattern of phoenix as their totem. The pattern of phoenix flying over the dragon shows that the immigrants, though now live in Chongqing, still miss their homeland and look forward to a brighter future.
In Qi’an House displays a series of statues with the themes like “Gathering”, “Assistance”and “Reunion”, characterized by lifelike statues with different expressions and vivid modeling. 
“Gathering” shows that the offspring of immigrants passes the examination of official enrollment. People coming from the same homeland gather in the guild hall and exchange the congratulations.
 所谓“襄义举”,就是会馆要关心和帮助同乡移民,一人有困难,大家都伸出援助之手,并且广及社会,例如设善堂,施钱施粥,兴办义学,赈济鳏寡孤独,承办同乡的殡葬事宜等等。有的会馆还为客死重庆的会员寄放灵柩,代为运回本籍安葬,清明节还要祭奠扫墓。这里的“襄义举” 历史复原场景再现的就是当年同乡互助的情形。
“Assistance” shows that the guild house gives a hand to help immigrants from the same place. If one person in difficulty, all the people will offer their assistance, let alone other benevolences such as money and food distribution, investing education, helping the unprivileged and funeral arrangement. Some guild hall would temporarily keep the coffin of the member died in Chongqing, ship the coffin to the homeland and worship at the graveyard at Qingming Festival.
“Reunion” shows the frequent reunions organized by the guild hall to promote the close relationship between the immigrants and emphasizing mutual concerning and caring, this served an important link between the immigrants at that time.
There are many historical displays in the wing houses, sitting room, bedroom of Qi’an House, such as worship tablet of heaven, earth, emperor, parents and teacher, washroom utilities, blue-and-white bowl, large-size carved bed, four treasures of stationery, date-shape lamp, all these help the recreation of the life and social milieu of that age.
4、永远的人文风景 Forever Social-Cultural Scenery
Guangdong House is also called Nanhua Palace. Immigrants of Guangdong come from Lingnan, a name used on the inscribed gate board “Nanling Observatory” and conveying the nostalgia of the immigrants. Guangdong House stands over Qi’an House, and stepping onto the building, people would enjoy a view of Nanshan Mountain and the Yangtze River. People would also be fascinated by the high-rising wall and retreating lanes of Dongguang Guild Hall.
The opera mansion of Guangdong House is called “Triumph Opera Mansion”, with three sides stretching out and four roofs spearing into the sky. The statues of dragons and beasts sit on the roofs and under the roofs, the supporting columns, earrings and the wooden board of the three sides of the stage are exquisitely carved with human, birds, beasts and flowers. The inner structure of the opera mansion features in ascending roofs with acoustic function as a loudspeaker. Audiences would enjoy the melody even standing outside the house.
In ancient times, annually about 200 performances took place in Huguang Guild Hall, aiming at entertaining the common audiences and the gods. Now the opera mansion has become an inseparable part of tea house, vending house, bookstore, art gallery and other facilities. Nevertheless, watching the opera and drinking tea has become an important cultural experience in Huguang Guild Hall.
As sunsetting and night-approaching, “Triumph Opera Mansion” unveils the performance of “Brilliant Bayu”, a combination of Chinese traditional opera, folk arts, folklore, singing and dancing, which attract the eyes of audiences under the stage and deliver the comfort to disturbing and uneasy souls.
Our minds are wandering through the gates, windows, performing stages and tea houses. The aromas of the melody the tea enlighten our soul and make us indulge in meditation. The rising sun in the east, the setting sun in the west, the tingling bronze bell as well as the mist and drizzle across the river, make us find a shelter and retreat at Huguang Guild Hall. The river, the music, the lamp, the fume, we lost ourselves in these blessings of the world.
When roving in front of the gate of Guangdong House, we unexpectedly find an amazing phenomenon. The gate is facing the Bijia Mountain between Tushan Mountian and Zhenwu Mantian, and the inscribed board on the gate coincidently matches the shape of Bijia Mountain. Is that the magic of nature? Another structure, a tiny pen-shaped pavilion on the roof of the guest house of Qi’an House, also matches the shape of Bijia Mountain. Is it the natural coincidence of weather and geologic location? Or the mystery of traditional Chinese Fengshui concept? The answer is still unknown.
Inside Huguang Guild Hall, each house is equipped with stone vats with large volume of water and various shapes, simple and solemn, peculiar and flexible. More stone vats set near the opera mansion, for in ancient times people use the water contained in the vats in case of fire. Now, these vats are no longer the firefighters but artistic vessels, with green weeds, opaque stones and fish swimming inside.
Numerous drainage pipes in Huguang Guild Hall are made of stone with the shape of plum pedals or copper coins. Combining the fragrance of plum pedals and the fortune of coins, the immigrants designed these pipes in accordance with the wishes of spring rainfall and business expanding. These pipes literally spell out the water and ensure Huguang Guild Hall a clean, tidy and spotless atmosphere.
The reconstruction and development of Huguang Guild Hall signifies the successful implementation of Overall Strategic Development Planning of Chongqing Cultural Heritage. The immigration movement fosters the openness, initiative, gratitude, passionate and straightforwardness of Chongqing people. To us, Huguang Guild Hall is the cultural treasure, the memory of the city, a forever temptation, and a everlasting historical legacy.

While the sun is setting, we stand at the southern bank of the Yangtze River and gaze at the ancient East Water Gate. The glazed tiled Huguang Guild Hall, with her elegant charm and attractive color, cannot be covered in the shadows of surrounding high-rising skyscrapers, on the contrary, the hall harmoniously mingles with the adjacent architectures and is becoming the most fascinating scenery of this “Mountain City, Charm City”.

Copyright © 2010 Cqhghg.com Inc. All Rights Reserved. 重庆湖广会馆 版权所有