Eighteen Oddities in Jianshui
The 1st Oddity —The bronze bell could be heard from very far away.
The bronze bell hangs on the Chaoyang building (which was built during the years of Emperor Hongwu in the Ming Dynasty). As the legend goes, in the ancient times, a wise man named Feng Yaocheng hung it using straw rope and then told other people to strike it 7 days later after he left. But the striker didn’t follow the rule, instead, he stroke the bell the following day after the wise man left. As a result, the sound of the bell could be heard from far away.
The 2nd Oddity —Celestial being’s footmark came from paradise.
There is an ancient bridge named Tianyuan Bridge in the east of Jianshui Ancient City, which was built by a celestial being according to the legend. However, a big footmark of the celestial is on the bridge floor. Most of the tourists like comparing their footmarks with the celestial being’s.
The 3rd Oddity —The gate of the town was built earlier than the gate of the forbidden.
The eastern gate of the town was built in the year 1389(the 22nd year of Emperor Hongwu in the Ming Dynasty) while the gate of the Forbidden City in Beijing was built in the year 1417. So we can see that the construction time of the town’s gate is 28 years earlier than that of the gate of Forbidden City.
The 4th Oddity —The ancient residences are more attractive than the modern ones.
The Jianhui ancient city is called “the museum of ancient architecture”. Countless temples, pavilions, buildings and gardens are so gorgeous and magnificent that they look more marvelous than that of the modern ones.
The 5th Oddity —Five streets could be crossed by three steps.
Jianshui Ancient City is crisscrossed by the alleyways. At one point on the Yongshan Street, you could cross five streets by three steps, making tourists feel really amazing.
The 6th Oddity —The water in the well in Zhu’s Garden overflows
In Zhu’s Garden, there is a well, in which the water surface is higher than the well, so that the water overflows outside the well. Since Zhu’s business was so prosperous, people called the water “Fortune-Making Water”. Tourists always wash their hands there in order to get good luck.
The 7th Oddity —Pools were called “seas”
There is a Chinese idiom “the Sea of Learning never has an End”, so ancient Jianshui people named the pools near schools and Confucius’ temples “Sea”.
The 8th Oddity —One family has 42 couryards
The Zhu’s Garden, which was called the Grand View Garden of southern Yunnan, was quite large and elegant, containing 214 rooms and 42 courtyards. The continuous row of houses, arranged in close order, all belonged to the Zhus.
The 9th Oddity —Everyone worships Confucius.
Jianshui is a city of culture and etiquette. People there all respect and worship Confucius. When every spring festival comes, all of people go to Confucius’ Temple to worship the sage.
The 10th Oddity —Spiders and mosquitoes flow etiquettes.
According to the legend, there are pearls used for avoiding spiders and mosquitoes in the Confucius’ Temple. To our surprise, there are really no spiders or mosquitoes in the temple. It seems that they know and follow the etiquettes, which is really amazing.
The 11th Oddity —A ficus microcarpa fell in love with a cypress.
In Jianshui, there is a big tree combining a ficus microcarpa and a cypress. The ficus microcarpa embraces the cypress. Countless tourists have been SO moved by them that people made lots of beautiful stories for them.
The 12th Oddity —The expose pillar-heads have not been rotten.
At the Jiuxing Gate of the Confucius’ Temple, there are four pillars which have their top heads exposed in the air. It’s rare that they have not been rotten after experiencing wind and rain through hundreds of years.
The 13th Oddity —Banquet entertain lavishly on the whole street
When the A’ma ao Festival of the Hani nationality comes, people of this ethnic minority group will set up tables and have a feast on the whole street. All of the familily members put their dishes on the long table and sit around it, which is called “the Hani Long-Street Banquet”.
The 14th Oddity —People enjoy sour dishes.
On Chinese New Year’s eves, people of the ancient city use lard and chicken fat stream vegetables and put them in basins. People begin to have them when the dishes get sour.
The 15th Oddity —Sprouts look like eburs.
There is one kind of plant, whose sprout is white and long, just like eburs, so that people call it “ebur vegetable”. It is such a kind of distinctive vegetable in Yunnan that are praised and loved by tourists.
The 16th Oddity —Royalties liked the bird-nests in Jianshui.
The bird’s-nests in the Swallow Cave are as famous as ginsengs, which are produced by white-waist swifts. In the Qing Dynasty, the king and his mother liked them so much and gave them high praises.
The 17th Oddity —Bin curds are counted by corn kernels.
Roasted bean curd is a famous specialty of Yunnan Province. If you go to the little bin curd stores, the owner will use corn kernels for counting, then check for you, which is so interesting that people consider it as the ancient counting method of tie knots.
The 18th Oddity —Lots of flowers and herbs could be dishes.
As Jianshui has temperate climate, fertile soil and abundant resources, a great variety of plants could be dishes, such as lotus, coriaira sinicas, heartleaf houttuynia herbs and on the like.