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Shiping County – A Unique Town of Culture

Shiping County is one of counties of Honghe Autonomous Prefecture, Yunnan Province. It is situated in south of Yunnan Province and northwest of Honghe Autonomous Prefecture. 

The main scenic spots are Shiping Xiushan Mountain and Yilong Lake. Shiping County is known as the “famous town of culture”, “hometown of orange”, “hometown of waxberry”, “land of fish and rice”, “hometown of bean curd” and “hometown of song and dance”.

 

Ancient Town of Shiping

Historic and Cultural Block of Ancient Town of Shiping County is the sole one in Yunnan Province that was elected as the first batch of Chinese historic and cultural blocks in China and has created brilliant culture in the process of the long history of more than two thousand years. 

Since the Yuan Dynasty, emphasis was laid on education and literature. In the Ming and the Qing Dynasties, it was “a famous town of culture” in which a large number of men of literature and writing, jinshis, members of imperial academy and civil and military jurens were cultivated. 

At that time, there were 10 academies and hundreds of private schools and free schools. There were dazzling court historian’s mansions, general manors and private gardens in the Shiping County which was rated as “a museum for residential buildings in the Ming and Qing Dynasties”. 

Walking in the streets and alleys of Ancient Town of Shiping, ancient buildings and civil residences in the Ming and Qing Dynasties are here and there. It is a small town that stays at 1990s that remains its character from being commercialized. 

 

Yilong Lake

Yilong Lake, one of the 9 plateau lakes in Yunnan Province and the largest natural water area in Honghe Autonomous Prefecture, is 2 kilometres away from county town of Shiping. 

Yilong Lake looks like a ribbon in shape from west to east. The terrain in the lake area is flat and inclines towards southeast slightly. 

The lakebed is 1,407.11 metres above sea level. In 1982, the water-collection area is 22.4 square kilometres and water yield is 44 million cubic metres. The scenic spots of Yilong Lake are mainly Chao Temple on Big Water City and Houle Pavilion, Laihe Pavilion and Bailang Shuiyue Temple.

There are thousands hectares of lotus here. From the end of spring to the beginning of autumn every year, pink, bright red, snow white and other colours of lotuses blossom on the water surface of west side of the lake. From July 6th to September 1st every year, the traditional Lotus Festival is held in here. 

 

 

Zhengying Village 

Zhengying Village is situated at the side of Chirui Lake, Baoxiu Town, 10 kilometres away from west county town of Shiping, Yunnan Province, with over six hundred years of history. 

It is picturesque near the mountain and by the river. There are 3 streets and 9 alleys named after surnames and geographical environment. 

The streets are paved with bluestone. Most of civil houses of quadrangle courtyards are facing north of which 28 houses are well preserved.

The famed buildings in the village are magnificent Chen Ancestral Hall and Zheng Ancestral Hall with exquisite wood carving technique of architectural decoration. Quite high cultural level is shown from its sculpture, calligraphy and paintings. 

 

Shiping Xiushan Mountain

12 kilometres away from the county town of Shiping, Shiping Xiushan Mountain is one of the famed mountains in south of Yunnan, which used to be named as “Jiushan Mountain”. 

Because of the beautiful scenery and fresh air in the mountain, it was renamed by local scholars as the “Xiushan Mountain”. 

The Xiushan Temple, which used to be named as the “Zhenjue Temple”, was built in the period of Hongwu, the Ming Dynasty and was renamed as the “Xiushan Temple” at the end of the Ming Dynasty.

   The ancient building in the temple covers an area of 1,327 square metres. The existing ancient buildings are Hill Gate, the Great Buddha’s Hall and Lingyun Pavilion. In the hall Sakyamuni’s statue is consecrated in the middle and Samantabhadra and Manjuist are respectively consecrated on both sides. 

 

 

Hometown of Ethnic Songs and Dances

Shiping County is a renowned “Hometown of Ethnic Songs and Dances” and the origin place of Hai Cai Accent & Cigarette-box Dance of the Yi ethnic group which is well-known in the country. 

There are various folk songs and dances such as the Yi Tune, Huayao Song and Dance, Xianggan Dance, Pula Drum Dance, Sangbang Dance and Music of the Hani ethnic group and Hao Dance of the Dai ethnic group. 

“Hai Cai Accent” is called as the first [FS:Page]of the four famed tunes in south of Yunnan Province. It is a kind of folk song that the Huayao Yi ethnic group often sing on Yilong Lake and was named after the melody that fluctuates and resounds long like the seaweed in the lake along the water wave.

    Such unique form of folk art in Shiping has won awards in various singing contests nationwide and surprised people from different regions many times. 

 

 

Hometown of Bean Curd

With a history of more than 400 years of bean curd production, Shiping is “the hometown of bean curd” worthy of the name. 

The proverb “amazing the world by marinating nectar with to be fragrant far away by baking bean curd” exactly describes the link of marinating Shiping bean curd with only well water rather than plaster or other chemical substances that are used for bean curd production in other places. 

Shiping bean curd is milky white, tender and delicious with no beany flavour, but only a little salty taste and bean curd taste pleasant to the palate.

Whether in county town or in township markets, street snack for roasting bean curd by blowing charcoal fire with cattail leaf fan can be seen everywhere. 

The bean curd rotated with charcoal slow fire is as inflated as the steamed bun. It is yellow outside but is not burnt. It is full of air holes inside with fragrance. With well concocted seasoning, it will whet your appetite at once. 

 

(Article/Picture Reference: Image of Yunnan)