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Picturesque Jixi
Updated: 2013-08-14

In Spring, birds are flying high and grasses are green and flowers bloom. When you walk on the stone-paved country roads, the river beside the road flows and rushes forward. As you are looking around, you will find that the nearby mountains are verdant, and faraway mountains, dark green. Pieces of white clouds are dancing merrily and agilely.

Unconsciously, you will walk into a village. Ranges over ranges of white walls stand erect and straight, tiles with the color of mandarin duck are arranged orderly and tidily. The horse-head-like walls seem to look out at something. At this time, it begins to drizzle. The fine raindrops like a hand comfort your travel-stained cheeks. You will suddenly feel the air is filled with an untold atmosphere from the old houses, from the roads and lanes, from under the eaves, which may be defined as spontaneously poetic, like living in a dream.The picturesque Jixi is reputed for its beautiful landscape. Jixi is a small county in the mountainous area in the southern part of Anhui province.


Picturesque Jixi

Jixi County is located in the junction of the mountain ranges of Tianzhushan and Huangshan. It is also the watershed of two major river systems, the Yangtze River and the Qiantang River. The name of Jixi County is derived from water. According to historical records: 'To the north of the county seat, there is a river called the Milk River which is one mile away from the Hui Stream. The two rivers flows apart and converges sometimes, like twisting hemps into threads, hence the name comerom.' The hundred-mile-long Dengcheng River is the mother river of Jixi people. She is originated from Xiaoyao (Carefree) Mountain. It connects all villages with its waterway zigzagging downstream. The village is surrounded by green trees. The curls of cooking smoke are seen from across the river. Generations of gifted personnel were brought up here. A 'Hundred-mile-long historical and cultural corridor' is thus formed up.

The county seat of Jixi and many villages nestle at the foots of mountains, are surrounded by rivers and face lakes or open land. This embodies the humanistic ideal that Man should be in harmony with Nature. Almost all villages here are surrounded by water systems, some of the water systems are clear and shadow riverlets; some of the water systems advance by a roundabout route. In front of almost every village, there is a lake or pond which is always deep and clean. The villagers would go down the stairs and wash clothes and rice. The cleaners would speak their local dialect. The crowing of cocks and the barking of dogs were within hearing of each other. Paths crisscross the fields in all directions.


Picturesque Jixi

Jixi is very mountainous. There are more than 40 peaks with the altitude above one thousand meter. All the mountains are green. Some mountains are magnificent, others are charming and scenic. Due to its fine environment, the county was granted the honor of International Green Eco-industrial Demonstration Zone and national ecological demonstration county. The main peak of Qingliangfeng is 1787.4 meters above sea level. Tianmu Mountain is the highest peak and also a treasure trove of flora and fauna. It is an ecological protection areas of national significance; Zhangshan Grand Canyon is a national 4A scenic area, the figures of great men, Hundred Yard Crag, Gourd Lake, and Flower Growing on Crown are known as the four wondrous spectacles; stretching hundreds of miles is the First Pass in southern China, which was dug in the Song Dynasty and the important passage for ancient Huizhou merchants to enter Hangzhou City, Zhejiang Province. Along the steep mountain road are the more than 1,000 stone steps. Here a number of legends of Hui merchants can be interpreted, now has become a fine tourist route for pedestrianism.

Picturesque Jixi is proud of its profound cultural heritage. Jixi is an important birthplace of Hui culture. According to 'The Extensive Records of Taiping': because there is a mountain, a river, and a village inside Jixi, all are named after Hui, hence the prefecture where Jixi is governed is called Huizhou. The Chinese character Hui means beauty. One scholar describes Jixi as: 'You wander into a village, it seems you have will have flipped a page of a history book, any stone everywhere you step on, your step will touch a dynasty.' Huizhou culture is typical representative of traditional Chinese culture and harmonious idea. As the birthplace of Hui Culture, Jixi is known as the 'source of harmony'. The Hu's Ancestral Hall in Longchuan is a national cultural heritage.


Picturesque Jixi

Experts call it 'palace of wood sculpture art' and 'First Temple in the Southern area of China'. In the ancestral hall, there are several lotus flower wood sculptures. Auspicious Chinese symbols are found everywhere – on arts, crafts, architecture, and household objects. Good Fortune is central to all aspects of Chinese life and culture. Five types of Good Fortune are most sought after by the Chinese – Good Luck, Prosperity, Longevity, Happiness and Wealth. All Chinese characters are visual symbols; they are not only ways of notating sound, which is the usual function of writing. An emphasis on Chinese symbol and meaning permeates the daily life of the Chinese person and goes beyond writing. Thus, in the wood sculpture lotus flower is definitely paired with crabs, mandarin ducks, shrimps, frogs to constitute a homonym of 'harmony, beauty, success, and prosperity'. The picture as a whole, together with its rich symbolic detail, not only gives a viewer pleasure but also transmits an indirect message to the viewers.

Picturesque Jixi

Jixi is also the birthplace of Hui Cuisine, as one of the eight Chinese Cuisines, which enjoys gorgeous reputation both at home and abroad. Hui Cuisine has entirely developed and incorporated the strength of other cuisines in the process of exchange with the other local cuisines in the country. Jixi County was named the 'Hometown of Hui Cuisine'by China Association of Cuisine.

Last but not least, we must admit that Jixi is a county whose folk arts are part of its intangible cultural heritage. The folk arts and culture as an intangible cultural heritage are transmitted down throughout all the generations in practical labor work and constantly recreated that have contributed a great deal to the formation and development of Hui Culture.