A Travellerspoint blog

China

The Bund

A little piece of Europe in Shanghai.

overcast 81 °F

Along the waterfront of the Huangpu River is a historical area with some architecture unique to Shanghai. The area was the original Wall Street of Shanghai and many foreign banks built a branch or headquarters in the style of their home country. It has a very European feel to it. On the West side of the river is the old architecture and on the East side of the river is the super modern architecture including Shanghai’s 3 tallest buildings. Talk about a contrast!
We also saw a lot of brides having their portraits taken all along the Bund. The trend for brides in Shanghai is to have a photo session before the wedding so that pictures of the bride in her gown can be placed outside of the church and at the reception hall. All of the brides were in huge white Western style gowns and looked amazing!

Posted by SusanConradWang 08:27 Archived in China Tagged shanghai the_bund Comments (0)

Jade Buddha Temple

Incense, candles, chanting, and devotion.

rain 81 °F

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We visited the temple on the first day of the fifth lunar month. Buddhists pray at the temple on the first and the fifteenth day of each lunar month so we walked into a very active temple. We’ve visited other temples in China, but they’ve all been empty except for tourists. It was very moving to watch the people burning incense, lighting lotus candles, praying to the four directions, and kneeling to pray in each of the temple rooms. The monks were chanting and their voices could be heard as we walked from building to building. Buddhists were balancing coins on the edges of vases and placing money on in and around statues and carvings. The place was packed with the devout.

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I purchased a lotus flower candle and attached a sticker that said, “All my wishes will come true” and added Dan’s name and my name. After I made my wish, the temple worker placed it with the other candles.
As we walked around I noticed women placing silver paper into bags. The silver paper represented money for the spirits. They were for sale and were burned as an offering to the Buddha. All of the offerings were burned in some way so that the smoke could rise to the heavens and carry the prayers or wishes of the people to whomever or whatever was listening or watching. We left smelling of incense and covered with ashes.

Posted by SusanConradWang 08:23 Archived in China Tagged shanghai Comments (0)

Tomb of Han Yang Ling

Off the beaten path and an overlooked treasure.

overcast 85 °F

We made one last stop to a mausoleum of a Han dynasty emperor before we were dropped at the airport. The museum is unique due to the way you can view the pits and artifacts. The pits are topped with glass and we were able to walk over them and look down at the artifacts. The pits were discovered in 1997 and the museum has only been open to the public since 2007. Our guide wondered how we had even found out about the museum. She said that in the past 12 years she has toured the Terracotta Warriors Museum thousands of times, but has only toured this museum a handful of times. Thank you, Lonely Planet for the recommendation! It was one of the least crowded places we visited in all of China and the experience was very unique.
There are a total of 81 pits and inside of them are terracotta soldiers, terracotta animals, ceramic jars, chariots, and all of the goods that an emperor would need in the afterlife. All of the relics are on a small scale. The soldiers each have unique faces and include men, women, and eunuchs. The people are also of different regions of China and the archeologists could tell which were Mongolian, etc. because of different facial features unique to different regions of China. Each little terracotta person was dressed in a silk outfit and each figure is anatomically correct (which is how they could tell they were women, men and eunuchs). Only the pits around the emperor’s tomb were excavated. The mountains, actually man-made mounds, holding the emperor and the empress were left alone. Surrounding the mounds of the emperor and the empress are the mounds of other royal family members. The mausoleums of the emperors are very large and can cover many square miles. Xi’an has the mausoleums of 74 emperors surrounding the city. China had over 150 emperors and Xi’an was the capital city for over 70 of them.

Posted by SusanConradWang 07:01 Archived in China Tagged han_dynasty_tomb Comments (0)

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