Classic literature fans make pilgrimage to ancient shrine
Updated: 2014-05-29 11:24
More and more fans of The Romance of the Three Kingdoms, one of four acclaimed great classical novels of Chinese literature, are visiting the Temple of Marquis Wu in Chengdu, Sichuan province.
The novel tells the tale of feudal lords and their retainers during the Three Kingdoms period (AD 220-280).
The temple is dedicated to Sichuan's ancient Shu past and the heroes that made the area legendary during the Three Kingdoms era and is the most influential of its kind.
He Hongying, deputy curator of the Temple of Marquis Wu Museum, said the area was a pilgrimage place for Three Kingdom fans from China and abroad.
More and more international tourists visited after the Chengdu 72-hour visa-free policy started, she added.
The policy, which allows transit passengers with a third country visa and valid air ticket to stay visa-free in Chengdu for up to 72 hours, started in September 2013.
The number of tourists visiting the temple museum between January and April increased 4.8 percent compared to the previous year and the number of international tourists is expected to grow even further, according to He.
The Temple of Marquis Wu covers 140,000 square meters and was built in AD 223 in memory of Liu Bei (AD 161-223), the warlord who founded the state of Shu Han (AD 221-263), and Zhuge Liang (AD 181-234), the chancellor of the state.
Both figures are legends in Chinese history and Zhuge is renowned as one of the most intelligent people in the country.
Tourists from East Asian countries including Japan and South Korea learnt the story of The Romance of the Three Kingdoms through children's books, movies, comics and video games, He said.
She said for many visiting the shrine is a childhood dream come true.
The temple includes antiques and ancient architecture including the tablet of Marquis Wu, also known as the Tablet of Excellence.
The stone tablet was made in the Tang Dynasty (AD 618-907) and consists of inscriptions written in beautiful calligraphy.
Statues of warlords and generals also stand in the temple.
"The spirit of Three Kingdoms is an important part of traditional Chinese culture", He said.
"Foreign tourists can get a better understanding of Chinese history and values by visiting," she said.
The deputy curator said she was focused on improving services and infrastructure to meet the rising demand of international tourists.
A foreign visitor told China Daily that had learnt about Zhuge when he was young and said his visit to the temple museum brought the historical figure to life.
He said he was amazed to see that the 50 heroes of Zhuge's period had long hair, beards and goatees and were adorned with colorful robes.
The tourist said the visit gave him an opportunity to understand the appearance and lifestyle of ancient Chinese people.