Lu Guimeng was a reclusive poet of the Tang era. Most of the buildings of the complex were built as a commemoration as opposed to actually dating from the lime of Lu Guimeng himself, but still very picturesque, especially the pool and pavillion (on the site of what is thought to have been the poet's study)
Worthy of note also gingko trees which are over 1,000 years' old.
Founded in year 503, Baosheng Temple is one of the top attractions in Luzhi. Despite rather turbulent history, the temple is well-preserved in terms of layout, although only a small portion of the rooms survived (it used to cover over half of Luzhi with 4,000+ rooms according to local history).
Main sights are:
- The Second Mountain Gate
- Hall of Heavenly Kings
- Antique Museum
- Arhat statues by Yang Huizhi
- Garden with greenstone sutra place and the iron bell
The highlight of the town of Luzhi, and its real treasure is the Baosheng Temple, first built in AD 503, but reconstructed many times. The present building dates only from the 1920s with large parts younger than quite a few pairs of socks of mine. I have things in my fridge older than much of China’s ancient architecture. Inside the temple, in a special hall opporsite the entrance, is the panorama of the nine statues of the arhats, made from clay. The whole structure is in a very poor state of repair and – once again – virtually nothing is explained to anyone, but they are actually the work of Yang Huzhi, a Tang Dynasty artist. One of the guide books states that the temple is in “Fragrance Lane” which is the epitome of useless information. Firstly, no-one in the town knows what the (English) “Fragrance Lane” means, and secondly very few foreign visitors are likely to know how “Fragrance Lane” translates into Chinese. Duh!
The temple has a number of interesting relics, but it is not clear if these were found on-site or trucked in from somewhere else and planted in the garden – not uncommon in China.
The Ye Shengtao Memorial Museum is in the temple grounds, and, curiously, three “unique trees” that are very special. Special for what, exactly, we are not told, nor even the species. I assume that they are the Apple Tree from the Garden of Eden, a triffid and Jack’s beanstalk. The visitor is forced into imagining something in the absence of anything that might set the context for all these “things” that Luxhi presents.
It’s to the left, down a side lane, off the main canal as you walk northwards, about halfway along it.
One of the most charming aspects of the town is the traditional clothing worn by the women locally. It is not unique as it is a style common in the wetlands and marshlands of this part of China, but in Luzhi it is worn with a certain pride. It’s not just about the clothing either, as the style requires the women to comb their hair up into a bun and cover it with a black headscarf.
Bright blue trousers and a matching bright blue jacket are further brightened by an embroidered panel on the front of the jacket, and brightly embroidered shoes. The whole design is extremely attractive and has resulted in the people being occasionally referred to as “Suzhou’s ethnic minority”.
Along the canals look out for the small stone bricks which are used to tie up the boats. Although many are new, there are some old ones around as well, often carved into special shapes (animal heads, etc).
This attractive late Qing building is on the upper right-hand arm of the canals, on the north bank. The guidebook describes it as being “in Xintang of Nanshi”, suggesting that it might even be in a different town, province or even country. Neither Xintang nor Nanshi is shown on the town’s street map at the entrance. The structure is an attractive and simple whitewashed building with tall roofs and elegant wooden columns around the verandahs.
The photograph in the little guide book looks nice, but I had no idea where it was because the book doesn’t say and it doesn’t get shown on the town map. In fact it’s in the Baosheng Temple grounds. The book tells us that Lu Guimeng and his contemporary Pi Rixia were called “Lu and Pi”. We don’t get told who they were, what they did, why they were famous, why one of them has a special tomb, why Pi doesn’t or anything actually. In fact it might as well be the tomb of John Smithers and Bob Pearson. Who knows? You feel that there is a story that is probably very interesting but it’s just totally hidden.
Favorite thing: I can’t make this map any better, given the limitations of VT’s maximum image dimensions, but hopefully it will provide a rough indication of the location of the main sites of Luzhi. The “entrance” is at the bottom of the map. I will post coordinates of the town for use with Google Earth, but it seems bizarre that to nevigate around a small town it is necessary to use datellite images and GPS receivers.