Tag Archives: Dongpo Park

Qianlong in Changzhou

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Qing Dynasty Emperor Qianlong (1711 to 1799) has many distinctions in Chinese history. He sat on the throne for sixty or so years, and he had one of the longest reigns. Instead of dying while in power, he gave up the throne out of respect to his grandfather, Kangxi. As a result, Kangxi’s time as Chinese Emperor is longer, but only by one year. Qianlong patronized the arts heavily, and he himself composed a lot of poetry. In world culture, he may actually be the most prolific writer of all time.

Also like his grandfather, Qianlong liked to travel and actually inspect his kingdom first hand. As a result, you end up seeing public references to him all over the Jiangnan region. Changzhou is no different. There are stone markers related to him in Dongpo Park in Tianning. This is basically down the street from Hongmei while on Yanling Road.

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During one visit to the city, Emperor Qianlong actually wrote a few poems mentioning Changzhou. The Emperor greatly admired Su Dongpo as a poet, and Dongpo Park is where the great writer and artist landed after traveling down the Grand Canal. A few hundred years ago, Qianlong actually wanted to visit that very same spot. These verses were carved onto steles — giant stone slabs engraved with calligraphy. That’s where one issue pops up. Chinese calligraphy, even when it’s black ink on white paper, can be hard to read. I showed a couple of pictures to some Chinese friends.

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They had a hard time making out anything. I have tried to see if I could locate these poems online, and I even used Chinese search terms like 乾龙常州市诗, and I still couldn’t locate the poems.Then, I realized my search terms had a Chinese typo. I think “Qianlong” in characters is 乾隆 not 乾龙. I think I might have located them, but it’s going to take a while to see if I can get these poems correctly translated somewhere done the line.

In the meantime, these stele carvings are an interesting little corner in one of Changzhou’s more charming little parks.

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Ink Stone Washing Pool at Dongpo Park

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There are actually three public parks in Changzhou’s city center: Renmin, Hongmei, and Dongpo. Out of all of them, Hongmei Park is the biggest with the most attractions. After all, Tianning Temple and its pagoda are there. Renmin is near Nandajie. Dongpo Park, on the other hand, is far down Yanling Road going east. You pass Hongmei on the B2 going there. It’s almost far enough out of the way where it doesn’t seem “downtown” at all. However, it’s worth the visit.

It usually doesn’t seem as crowded as the other two. But, like most parks, it’s hard to write about the place in its entirety for one blog post. It is important to realize, though, that sometimes it feels like two separate parks. One half is an island in the nearby canal, and here is where you would find the statue to one of China’s most culturally significant poets. The other part, however, seems more general with foot paths going up and down hills.

One attraction here would be Ink Stone Washing Pond. It’s looks like a man made body of water surrounded by large, weathered rocks. These rocks are filled with nooks and crannies. It’s a nice place, over all, to kills sometime and get a walk in. However, last time I visited, I got munched on by mosquitoes.

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