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A thousand-year-old ancient town--Cicheng

 

A thousand-year-old ancient town--Cicheng

The town of Confucian, the cradle of successful candidates in the highest imperial examinations, the home of loving and filial piety.

The famous historical culture town in Zhejiang Province .

General Introduction to Cicheng
Cicheng is a famous historical and cultural town of Zhejiang Province near the East Sea and beside the Yaojiang River. With a historical accumulation of over thousand years, Cicheng has very deep details in culture. In an area of about five square kilometers, there are 33 cultural relics protecting units of different grades of the state, province, city and region. Meanwhile, Cicheng has been rich in celebrities. From Tang and Song Dynasties to Ming and Qing Dynasties there had been 519 Jinshi (successful candidates in the highest imperial examinations or Presented Scholars). In modern and contemporary times, celebrities as Zhou Xinfang, Qin Runqing, Ying Changqi, Tan Jiazhen, and Feng Jicai are from Cicheng.
The cultural value of the ancient county of Cicheng is not only because of its long history of humanity, but also because of its unique natural beauty. Hills and streams enhance each other and make the town more beautiful.
If you want to witness the thousand-year vicissitudes and experience the thick Confucian style and customs and water country atmosphere, come to the thousand-year Cicheng, The First Ancient County of South China!

           



Scenic Spots Introduction

    •The Confucian Temple---miniature of Confucianism of Cicheng
    The Confucian Temple is a place where the great thinker, politician, and educator, Confucius is worshipped. The temple is at the center of the town. It was built in the first year of Yongxi’s reign of the North Song Dynasty. It is 318 years earlier than the Confucian Temple in Beijing. It was moved to the present site in 1048. Having experienced damage and prosperity, the present temple remains its late Qing’s style when Guangxu reigned. It covers an area of seven thousand square meters with 137 rooms including ancestral temples and pavilions. The layout of the architecture is very complete with a grand air. On the central axis are the Lingxing gate, Pan Pond, the Dacheng gate, the Dacheng Hall, the Minglun Hall, the Tiyun pavilion from the south to the north. Symmetrically built on both sides of the right axis and the left axis the ancestral temples and pavilions, representing the aesthetic taste of Confucian for golden mean.
    The Confucian Temple of Cicheng is the best preserved Confucian Academy of eastern Zhejiang. It was listed as a cultural relic under the provincial preservation in 1997.
The temple is a proof of the many Confucian scholars of Cicheng. Many celebrities of Cicheng in history and their stories are widespread. Dong An of West Han Dynasty, also named Shuda who was very filial. His moral story is everlasting. The Prime Minister of Wu Kingdom of the Three-kingdom Period was royal to the country and knew much in administration and rites. He assisted Sun Quan in the Chibi Battle and defeated Cao Cao. When he returned Cicheng, he advocated education and opened the academy. This began the literary atmosphere of Cicheng. In late Qianlong’s reign of Qing Dynasty, the temple was renamed as Derun Confucian Academy. The great scholar of the South Song Dynasty Yang Jian was a great officer in the Imperial Court. When he retired and returned to his native county in his later years, he lived beside the Cihu Lake and spread the school of principle. He left the famous works The Posthumous Writings of the Cihu Lake and became the forerunner of the eastern Zhejiang trend. There had been so many famous scholars in Cicheng that there had once been a saying that "all the important officeres of the Imperial Court are from Cicheng". The outstanding of Cicheng in literary is seen from this. 

    •The County Government Office(The yamen of Cicheng)--a place containing the basic cultural elements of county government and administration of ancient China.
According to the County History of Guangxu’s reign, the yamen was built in the 26th year of Kaiyuan’s reign of Tang Dynasty (738 A.D.) by the first County Magistrate of Cicheng -- Fang Guan. By the year of 1954, it has a history of over 1,200 years. It was first built on the Fubishan Mountain. Because of invasions and natural disasters, the yamen was damaged and rebuilt for several times. The present yamen was rebuilt according to the detailed map of the yamen of the County History of Guangxu’s reign. It covers an area of over 40,000 square meters.
    Cicheng had been the center of County administration in various dynasties. The yamen has a very long history that contains the key political elements of the ancient Chinese basic political institutions. It really is a vivid textbook of precious cultural and historical legacy for our later generations.
    According to the record of the detailed engineering map of rebuilding the yamen of Cicheng of Qing Dynasty, there are some unique design features of the layout of the yamen of Cicheng. The first uniqueness is that the common county offices have three departments, but the yamen of Cicheng in Qing Dynasty had the Revenue department (with money section and grain section) in the east and the five departments of Personnel, Rites, War, Justice, and Works in the west. The second different thing is that on the lane between the Ceremonial Gate and the Main Hall, there are pavilions (such as Gongshengming Pavilion and Zhenshi Pavilion) while the common yamen have workshops (as Jieshi Workshop). The third unique thing is that between the residence gate and the Second Hall behind the Main Hall, there is a corridor while the common yamen had yards. Besides, at the north end of the architectural group on the central axis was the Qingqing Hall where the County Magistrate Zhang Ying of the first year of Duangong’s reign of the North Song Dynasty (988 A.D.) was worshipped. The whole yamen of Cicheng was designed and built according geomancy theory and the official architectural rule. It is southward with the Main Hall on the central axis. Surrounding the Main Hall are the architectures of different layers, which form a very grand architectural group. The whole yamen is well distributed with different layers while the corridors joined the architectures naturally. The general impression of the design is solemn with relaxation, grand with beauty. The distinguished architectural art and the dignified atmosphere of the yamen of Cicheng are both shown. 

    •Xiaoshiguan-- reflection of the panorama of the ancient Category Selection (Imperial Examinations) System
Xiaoshiguan, with the folk name of Kaopeng, is the place for the basic feudal imperial examinations system----preliminary exam. In the fifteenth year of Daoguang’s reign of Qing Dynasty (1835), the local gentlemen Zheng Tingrong and his son donated 24,000 liang of silver to build Xiaoshiguan. Later, it was destroyed. The present building was built according to the detailed map of Xiaoshiguan of the County History of Cixi of Guangxu’s reign. It is southward with an area of about 8,000 square meters. The whole architectural group is on symmetry of the central axis following the Chinese tradition. On the central axis are the Gate, the Ceremonial Gate, the Main Hall, the Second Hall and the Examination Selection Place. On the left and right axis are the writing field, and the ancestral temple. They are built in the Ming and Qing style.
    Xiaosheguan of Cicheng is an important part of the ancient county. It is a miniature of the age and the culture. It reflected the panorama of the ancient Chinese Category Selection system. It offers a typical historical and cultural place for us to have an idea of the Category Selection system of ancient China.
    The Category Selection system is a system to select officials through examinations in Chinese history. It began in the Sui Dynasty, established in the Tang Dynasty, perfect in the Song Dynasty, prosperous in the Ming Dynasty and the Qing Dynasty, and abolished in end of Qing Dynasty. The System has a history of over 1300 years and has a far-reaching influence on the development of the Chinese history.
    The system is a talent selection machine that is rooted in the Chinese soil and abolished in the 31st year of Guangxu’s reign (1905). Its influence can still be sensed in modern examination system. All the present examination systems of college entrance examination, the high school entrance examination and the civil service examination have something to do with the Category Selection system, and inherited the principles of fair competition, and the best are selected. The Category Selection system is the very important part of the Science of the Category Selection. It is also significant in the present common college entrance examination and the principle of selecting talents through examinations.
    As a historical and cultural place of showing the panorama of the Category Selection system, Xiaoshiguan combines the features of knowledge, enjoyment, and amusement. It will exert an active part in modern undertakings of culture, education and tourism by giving knowledge through interest. 

    •The Cihu Lake-- represents the ancient educational and cultural life with the styles of garden and academy
    The status of the Cihu Lake in Cicheng is similar to that of the West Lake in Hanzhou. According to history, the lake was dug under the instruction of the County Magistrate Fang Guan in the Tang Dynasty. It is not large with its largest area of 150 mu. But it is clear throughout the year with mountains on three sides. It is like a screen wall. The lake is calm even there is strong wind and heavy rain. So, people compared the lake to a gentle girl.“The mountain wins its fame through its immortal not its height, and the water its dragon, not the depth. ” Cicheng is said to be full of great men. Thus, the Cihu Lake has the elegancy because of them.
    The lake has a deep connotation of history and culture because of many saints and spots of interests. In the 37th year of Qianlong’s reign of Qing Dynasty, the County Magistrate of Cixi Hu Guanlan finished some projects gave relief to the folkmen. After that he ordered to built a pavilion on the lake dyke in memory of Mr. Ci hu, Yang Wenyuan of the Song Dynasty to spread morals and education. So, it was named Shigu pavilion, meaning to learn from the previous saints and do good to the people. After the liberation, the pavilion was repaired for several times. But over 200 years of wind and rain broke the pillar and made the base sink. The framework of the pavilion was tilted and the eave edges became decomposed. In 1986, Xinkang, who’s overseas Chinese from Hong Kong donated money to renovate the pavilion. And the ancient pavilion has a new outlook now.
    At the first sight of the Cihu Lake, you will find that the lake is very elegant though it is not large. The lake not only contains the elegance of as a jade but also shows the beauty as if it is a young lady. It has no noise and din, but calmness and softness. 



    •The Qing Taoism Temple——Saint Spot of Taoism in Southeast
The temple is located on the Tashan Mountain outside the east gate of Cicheng. It was built in the eighth year of Tianbao’s reign of Tang Dynasty (749 A. D.). It was a place for the Taoists to worship their god and a place for the Taoist priests to cultivate their moral characters, and a place to carry out other relative activities. Tang Dynasty and Song Dynasty were the climax of the taoism. So the Qing Taoism Temple has a lot to do with the two dynasties. After Yuan Dynasty, the temple experienced a history of being destroyed, rebuilt, and expanded. To the beginning of the Republic of China (1912-1949), the temple was covered with big trees, and seven layers of pavilions and halls. There were lots of statues. It was famous for the tolling of its enormous bell. The temple was destroyed during the Cultural Revolution and is being rebuilt now.

 

Cicheng’s local specialties
Traveling Foods
 
    •Cicheng New Year’s Cake 
    • Waxberry 
    • "Xuezhou Brand" white tea 
    • Yunhu bamboo shoots 
    • Eastern Zhejiang Province’s "Big White Goose"

Traditional Arts and Crafts
Sculptural Decoration:  There are seven protected and relatively intact archways: 
    • Dongguan Archway 
    • Enrong (favor and glory) Archway 
    • Shien Archway 
    • Fengyue Colored Pattern Gateway 
    • Stone figures of Song Dynasty, and stone horses, stone goats, and stone tigers on the east slope of Damiao (Big Temple) mountain of Cihu, and many stone windows,  brick engravings, wood carvings are all the main ornaments of the ancient architectures.

Ningbo Embroidery:   The embroidery of Ningbo reflects the long local history and skill of the craft and is characterized by a generally calm and simple style.
    Shops from Ancient Times .
    • Feng Hengda:Built during Tongzhi’s Reign in the Qing Dynasty, Feng Hengda is one of the biggest and oldest makers of foodstuffs of the ancient town, and the only one still in existence. You might want to try their specialty rice cake (niangao). 
    • Yongda:Built during Qianlong’s Reign in the Qing Dynasty, the Yongda mill was instrumental in spreading the tradition of the New Year’s Cake. 
    • Taichang Store was an old store that sold delicious tea、food and desserts. 
    • Chunhuaxiang was a shop that sold cotton products, grocery, clothing, cosmetics, and products for women and children. 
    • Baotailai Grocery was a shop that dealt in furniture for peasants. 
    • Demao Candle Store was a shop that dealt in candles and incenses. 
    • Dayuan Hang, located at the crossing of Xia Heng Street, was a big trading post buying and wholesaling vegetables and fruits. 
    • Juxinglou Restaurant used to be a 3-story modern wooden building. It served as a symbol of Cicheng’s modernization.


Celebrities of Cicheng 
    •Kan Ze (170-243 A.D.) also named Derun, was Juzhang of Kuaiji County. He used to be the Director of Imperial Secretariat of Wu Kingdom during the Three-Kingdom Period. He spent his late years in Cicheng. He offered his mansion, which was rebuilt as Puji Temple, the first Buddhism temple in Zhejiang Province. 
    •Yang Jian (1141-1225), also named Jingzhong and Cihu, Mr. Cihu. He was a Jingshi (Presented Scholar ) of Qiandao’s reign of South Song Dynasty. He developed the famous scholar of idealistic Confucianism Lu Jiuyuan’s “Heart Theory” into Solipsism. It was called Cihu School of eastern Zhejiang at that time. He was an honest and upright official with a lot of writings. 
    •Yao Mo (1465-1538), also called Yingzhi and Dongquan, was a Presented Scholar of the sixth year of Hongzhi’s reign of Ming Dynasty. His eldest son Yao Lai was the Top Graduate of the second year of Jiajing’s reign (1523) of Ming Dynasty, who was distinguished in the Imperial Academy for his mastery of Confucian Classics, poetry, and history. 
    •Feng Yue(1481-1561), also called Wangzhi and Zhensuo, was a Presented Scholar of the fifth year (1526) of Jiajing’s reign of Ming Dynasty. He was honest and upright in office and was bestowed to have colored gateway built by Emperor Wanli, which are still in existence. 
    •Fang Guan(697-763 A.D.), also called Cilv, was from Henan. His grandfather Fang Xuanling, his father Fang Rong and he all had been the Prime Minister during Tang Dynasty. Later he was demoted as the County Magistrate of Cixi. He was the founder of Cicheng’s being the county of Cixi. 
    •Gui Yanliang, also called Decheng, was famous in literacy. He was one of the three most important officials of the first emperor of Ming Dynsaty. In the eighteenth year of Hongwu’s reign, he retired and thereafter devoted himself into writing. Qingjie (Moral Integrity) and Zhongdujixing (A tour to Zhong Capial) were the popular ones. 
    •Zhao Wenhua (?-1557), also called Yuanzhi and Meilin was a native of Cixi county. He was a Presented Scholar of the eighth year of Jiajing’s reign of Ming Dynasty. He had been the Minister of the Ministry of Works, the Right Vice Chief Military Censor governing the military commission of South China and Eastern Zhejiang. 
    •Feng Yuanzhong, also called Cimu, lived in Chongzhen’s reign in Ming Dynasty. He did good to the poor people when he came to Cicheng. He collected calligraphy works of the great calligraphers, which made the great calligraphers such as Mi Fu and Zhao Zi’ang famous.

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