There is an ancient saying that goes, “The mountains and rivers in the southeast are the most beautiful, and the scenery is even more beautiful in Shaoxing.” Shaoxing, a city with a long history and rich culture, is like a moving picture scroll, showing the beautiful scenery and profound history of the water town of Jiangnan. On 31 October 2023, Grade 8 students and teachers from SUIS Qingpu took part in a “Humanities Walk” field trip, walking into this ancient and vibrant city, and travelling through its beautiful sceneries and cultural landscapes.
Day1 Lu Xun’s hometown
We took a bus to Lu Xun’s hometown in the afternoon. There was a river in front of his hometown, and several awning boats were floating in it. We couldn’t help but think of the scenes mentioned by Lu Xun in “Her Opera” and the moonlit night boat trip in Lu Town. ‘Stealing beans under the moon’…those days that Lu Xun experienced and missed.
We went to Baicao Garden, Sanwei Bookstore, and other places. The students listened carefully to the tour guide’s explanation, and the stories written by Lu Xun were vividly remembered. What impressed us the most was probably the former residence of Lu Xun. It has long been depleted over time and there is little left of it, but the prosperity and glory of the past can still be glimpsed, constantly proving to people the existence of history. In a trance, the pictures in the book overlapped in my eyes. I seemed to have caught a glimpse of Lu Xun writing furiously in the hope of saving the country and the people. I saw Lu Xun smoking tobacco and holding “The Beginner’s Notes”. I saw Lu Xun writing down the sadness and indignation of “a cold eyebrow pointed at a thousand people”, and history seemed to be happening before our eyes.
Later in the evening, we took a boat ride. Looking out of the window, the clear moonlight reflected on the river, as if it has been covered with a long white veil. The guide told us stories from thousands of years ago, and the students sang in unison in their free time. What a harmonious scene.
Who says that everything will eventually flow into the long river of history and be forgotten. The river will turn it into nutrients and bury it deep in the ground, nourishing generations of people so that they will be remembered.
Day2 Dayu Mausoleum and Wang Yangming’s Former Residence
The story of Dayu’s flood control has been passed down for centuries. He “passed through the door three times without entering”. He had the world in his heart, worked hard day and night for the sake of the people, and sacrificed his small family for everyone. Today, under our teachers’ leadership, we came to the Tomb of Dayu. It was called Yu Cave in ancient times and was the burial place of Dayu. Every year on April 20, leaders from Zhejiang Province would come to Shaoxing to worship Dayu. Today we were lucky enough to experience the Dayu Ceremony.
Dayu’s sacrificial ceremony is divided into 13 items: standing in silence, sounding guns, offering tributes, offering incense, beating drums, ringing bells, playing music, offering wine, toasting, reading the sacrificial text, saluting, singing carols and performing sacrificial dances, after which, the ceremony is completed.
The entire Dayu Sacrifice Ceremony is full of strong cultural atmosphere, comprehensively displaying the history and culture of Dayu Mausoleum in Shaoxing. During the ceremony, I not only deeply felt the charm of traditional culture, but also deeply realized the reverence and admiration of ancient people for heroes.
After lunch, we went to Wang Yangming’s former residence. When we walked into Wang Yangming’s former residence, I was deeply attracted by the simple and elegant architectural style. The entire former residence is dominated by a courtyard. The antique architecture and exquisite wood carvings complement each other, giving people a sense of tranquility and simplicity.
During the visit, I learned many stories and thoughts about Wang Yangming. He advocated ideas such as “the heart is reason” and “the unity of knowledge and action”. These ideas were of high value in society at that time. At the same time, he also had high achievements in the military. He led the army to put down rebellions many times and contributed to the stability of the Ming Dynasty.
In the evening, we learned how to produce a roll from a monument. The process is very complicated, but when the finished product comes out, people feel proud. One of them left a deep impression on me. It requires covering a piece of newspaper on rice paper that has been evenly coated with water, and then tapping it with a brown brush to make the text evenly dented. After tapping it, my hands became useless.
Day 3 Kuaiji Orchid Pavilion
The morning sun was warm and clear. After crossing two or three small bridges and several steps, we arrived at Orchid Pavilion – “Here there are high mountains, lush forests and bamboos, as well as clear and rapid streams, reflecting the left and right.” There is no doubt that the Orchid Pavilion in Wang Xizhi’s paintings is elegant. Perhaps only by seeing it in person can you appreciate the ethereal and vibrant scenery.
We sat on a stone by the creek and looked up at the blue sky, white clouds and smoke waves. If you raise your hand, you will touch the low-hanging willow leaves. Several small pots floated on the water, and a pot floated in front of me. With a “bang” it hit the stone in front of me. I picked up the small pot and drank it all in one gulp: “Flick as you swim, bamboo stream. Burning incense, climbing the peak and looking into the distance, sitting and watching the clouds rise, testing the spring in the pine pavilion, fishing for the old man in the smoke waves, lying on the high canopy bed, it is indescribable.”
On the way back, I looked back three times every step of the way. I wanted to stay a little longer, feel the beauty of the mountains and rivers, and feel the poet’s feelings…
My memories of Shaoxing—the city of water charm—are steeped in an ambiance of antiquity, with its gray bricks and tiles, its little bridges, overflowing streams, and courtyards… It’s the misty and rain-soaked Jiangnan vividly depicted in the writings of Lu Xun. Upon arriving, we immediately visited the hometown of this esteemed writer.
In the former residence of Lu Xun, we immersed ourselves in the very happy realm where he once lived. As I stepped into the Herb Garden, the scene I had only known from textbooks came alive before my eyes: “The lush vegetable patches, the smooth stone balustrades of the well, the towering pagoda trees.” I couldn’t help but wonder if I might encounter the “beautiful snake” Lu Xun once mentioned. The text from our seventh-grade lesson, “From the Herb Garden to the Study,” which had once been difficult to grasp, now vividly unfolded before us.
Crossing the stone bridge, the yellowing leaves fluttered down, and the mottled shadows of the trees were cast upon the walls beneath the gray tiles, while emerald-green ripples danced on the water’s surface. An old boatman rowed his black-canopied boat along the profound canal. Near us were the crisscrossing algae, and in the distance, layers of mountains rose one after another.
As we walked among the residences of the famous, we were enveloped by a sense of history that spanned a thousand years, as if the figures of the past were intersecting with our own reflections. Who knows how many poets and scholars have been enraptured by this southern region of rivers and lakes?
8A 杨立荃 Leah
We learned about the learning and life stories of young Lu Xun through the introduction of the tour guide, from his scholarly former residence to the interesting and extraordinary Baicao Garden.
After that, we came to the Xuwei Art Museum. Xu Wei was brilliant in calligraphy and painting. His paintings could attract the essence of predecessors and transform themselves. They did not seek to be like the shape but like the spirit. Mountains and rivers, people, flowers, birds, bamboo, and stone, all the paintings were skillful. The most outstanding ones were of petals, which created a generation of painting styles.
Shaoxing Shiye Hall has a unique culture. We gained insights into the profound foundation of Chinese culture and enhanced our sense of national pride. They are truly a unique intelligent group and a historical and cultural phenomenon in Chinese society.
Our research activity was unforgettable for us, as we were able to experience various literati’s books, landscapes, and paintings. Such a trip will definitely provide us with inspiration for our future life and enhance our understanding of history.