Friday, August 4, 2017

Du Fu Thatched Cottage, Chengdu, China, Famous Chinese Poet, “A Quatrain”, Tang Dynasty, Kuanzhai Alley

Du Fu Thatched Cottage and Kuanzhai Alley ~ Interesting places to visit when you are in Chengdu, China!


When we visited Chengdu China, we heard a lot about the famous Chinese Poet, Du Fu and his Thatched Cottage park and museum.  Du Fu is known as one of the greatest of all Chinese poets and he lived from 712 AD to 770 AD during the Tang Dynasty.   The Thatched Cottage park and museum is on a 24-acre site located on the western parts of Chengdu City in the Sichuan Province of China. This famous poet was truly honored in 1961 when the Chinese government made this park a National Heritage site.

I am an avid collector of worldwide postage stamps, and I have a number of stamps depicting the image of this famous poet.  Du Fu was raised and trained at an early age to become a civil servant and follow his father’s footsteps, his greatest life ambition. But with the deadly Lushan Rebellion of 755 AD, he fled for safety and eventually headed to Chengdu in December 759 AD. It was at this time in his life that he began to develop his talent for poems and also wrote poems as a means to make money and survive.

We fell in love with this serene place to visit and was pleased to learn about the life of this Chinese literature master.  The park has one of the most beautiful gardens in China with gorgeous ponds bamboo trees, pagodas, and so much more.   China built many fine pathways with stone landscapes taking you on a journey through the park.   This was a great place to take pictures and to enjoy the beauty of this park.

Du Fu wrote about 250 different poems in his life time and one of his most well-known poems describing the scenery he enjoyed while living in this area is called “ A Quatrain”.  He wrote the poem at his tiny cottage in 764 AD. 

A Quatrain (by DuFu courtesy of Wikipedia)
A pair of golden orioles sings in green willows
a column of snowy egrets flies off in blue sky
my window contains peaks with a thousand years of ice
my gate harbors boats from ten thousand miles downriver

Thatched Cottage of Du Fu 杜甫草堂

The thatched Cottage that Du Fu originally lived was destroyed but has been rebuilt and reconstructed to show how modest he lived while he wrote his many classic poems.  The museum in the park has many of his poems, images of DuFu and there are a host of statues and sculptures in the museum and park.

After our visit to the Thatched Cottage Park, we wanted to do some local shopping in an old section of Chengdu known as Kuanzhai  Alley 宽窄巷子, built/established during the Qing Dynasty.  This area consists primarily of Kuan Alley (Wide Alley),  Zhai Alley (Narrow Alley), and Jing Alley.  

This is a fabulous place to find great souvenirs, eat superb local foods, relax in bars/pubs, and people watch.  Millions of people visit this district every year.  

You can also see many displays from local artists and craftsmen.

The architecture in this area of downtown Chengdu, shows ancient Chinese lifestyles of the powerful military and the wealthy that originally inhabited Kuanzhai  Alley.  I found it thoroughly enjoyable admiring the variety of architecture in the buildings, the many inviting courtyards, open style restaurants, and the energy of all the people living in and visiting this area.

We spent an entire afternoon wandering and shopping and wished we could spend more time here.  We will definitely visit again on our next trip to Chengdu and our plan is to explore and enjoy Chengdu’s nightlife at Kuanzhai Alley.

Kuanzhai Alley 宽窄巷子

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