Jul 21, 2013

In recent years, this ancient romance has inspired a transformation in the town.

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This photo taken on Sunday, August 2, 2009 shows a portrait of the famous poet Li Bai in Tang Dynasty and his poem about Peacock Flies to Southeast, a well-known lyric poem in ancient China's South Dynasty. ---By Liu Donghui

Although no clear evidence exists that the heroine in The Peacocks Fly to Southeast, a well-known lyric poem from ancient Chinas Southern Song Dynasty (420-589), was a real-life person, people in Xiaoshi Town in east Chinas Anhui Province, believe the womans tragic marital tale was true and occurred there more than 1,400 years ago.

This poem tells a tragic love story that took place during the Eastern Han Dynasty (25-220). The poem is set during the Jianan Period of the dynasty. A girl named Liu Lanzhi from a common family married Jiao Zhongqing, who grew up in a well-known official family that was in decline at the time. Although they loved each other, they were broken up by both families due to difference in family status. Liu Lanzhi was dispossessed from the family by her mother-in-law and then forced by her elder brother to remarry. Finally, the couple chose to commit suicide.

That was a tragedy. But locals in Xiaoshi Town of Anqing city are absolutely proud of the moving love story, since they have done a lot for the couple forlorn of all hope. In recent years, this ancient romance has inspired a transformation in the town. A new Peacock Stage, a memorial park and a 30-mln-yuan themed movie and TV base have all been built there. 

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This photo taken on Sunday, August 2nd, 2009 shows the Peacock Stage in Xiaoshi Town of Anqing city, in east Chinas Anhui Province.

Peacock Stage

The Peacock Stage, first built during the Tang Dynasty (618-907), was originally a mound and was turned into a grand stage for opera performances during the Qing Dynasty (1616-1911), but it was unfortunately destroyed during Chinas Cultural Revolution in the 1960s.

In 2004, Xiaoshi Town restored the stage which cost about 680 million yuan ($99.5 million U.S. dollars). All the money was raised by Xiaoshi Town locals.

The villagers donated the money of their own free will, 65-year-old Liu Chengwang, one of the descendants of Liu Lanzhi, said.

Now the Peacock Stage has become a free cultural centre of Xiaoligang Village. Every year, villagers nearby can enjoy opera performances here during the Spring Festival to the Tomb-sweeping Day.

Also the nearby Peacock Tomb for the couple has been refurbished. In 1984 the over-1,700-year-old historic site had a tombstone added to it. Nearby is the half-moon-shaped lake where Liu Lanzhi was said to have drowned herself.

Liu Chengwang says these moves aim to create a cultural identity, in memory of the story and its characters, as well as boost local tourism.

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This photo taken on Sunday, August 2, 2009 shows a wall with the story of Peacock Flies to Southeast on it, in Xiaoshi Town of the Anqing City, in east Chinas Anhui Province.

Movie and TV base

Last year, a TV play The Peacocks Fly to Southeast was finished at the movie and TV base in Xiaoshi Town.

The Han Dynasty-style base, which cost more than 30 million yuan to build, was expected to help the surrounding rural area develop cultural tourism based on the Peacock story, Xie Wei, an official with the town, said.

Until now the site has not yet started normal business, due to underdeveloped traffic and a lack of promotion. Most tourists just come to the site after their visit to Tianzhushan Mountain, a popular nearby tourist destination.

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This photo taken on Sunday, August 2nd, 2009 shows a Han Dynasty-style house at the Peacock Movie and TV Base, in Xiaoshi Town of Anqing city, in east Chinas Anhui Province.

This photo taken on Sunday, August 2, 2009 shows the Peacock Tomb of Liu Lanzhi and Jiao Zhongqing, the hero and heroine of Peacock Flies to Southeast in Xiaoshi Town of the Anqing City, in east Chinas Anhui Province.

Besides, the infrastructure here is far from good compared with that of other similar bases like the Hengdian World Studios in East Chinas Zhejiang Province.

Last year, when the Peacock TV play was shot here, all the actors and actresses had to stay elsewhere as there isnt a single hotel nearby.

Xie says such issues will be solved as soon as news roads and other facilities are ready.

He added that stores will be opened inside the base selling local specialties or archaized commodities and every operator will be exempt from rent during the first several years. 

SOURCE : travel.chinese.cn

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