Jiangsu / Culture

Know Wuxi by 10 surnames: Hua (华)

( Updated: 2016-10-20 18:01

As the symbol of Wuxi, the Erhu composition "Erquan Yingyue" (the Moon Reflected on the Er-quan Spring) enjoys a great reputation in China and abroad. People know the piece was created by a blind folk musician colloquially called A'Bing. However, not many know that the real name of A'Bing was Hua Yanjun, a member of Wuxi's Hua (华) family.

The Hua family's history in Wuxi can be traced back 1,700 years. The Huas were the most distinguished family of the city during the Ming and Qing dynasties (1368-1912). The Wuxi Hua family considers Hua Bao, a dutiful and noble man in the Jin dynasty (266-420), to be their ancestor. The family mainly live in Dangkou town in southeast Wuxi and was once the biggest family there, establishing more than ten "Yi Zhuang" (free estates) in the town and surrounding areas.

The "Yi Zhuang" was a unique charity institution in ancient China, established by big families to help the poor by providing students with money and clothes.

The first Yi Zhuang in Wuxi was established in Dangkou town by the Hua family. It is also one of the oldest and most complete free estates in the Jiangnan area (the area south of the Yangtze River).

Free estates narrowed the gap between the rich and the poor and promoted rural stability. The Hua family's contribution to Dangkou's development is undoubted.

In addition to free estates, there is another historical attraction called Huitong Museum in Dangkou town. The museum used to be a printing workshop founded by Hua Sui (1439-1513), who was interested in collecting ancient books and so set up a studio for printing and carving. It was one of the very first private printing workshops in the Jiangnan area. Carvings made by Hua Sui are very precious and are stored by the Chinese National Library.

Today, the surrounding area of Dangkou town remains famous for its printing industry.

Know Wuxi by 10 surnames: Hua (华)

The character Hua (华). [photo/ provided to]

Know Wuxi by 10 surnames: Hua (华)

A statue of Hua Yanjun, also known as A'Bing. [photo/ provided to]

Know Wuxi by 10 surnames: Hua (华)

The first free estate established by the Hua family in Dangkou town. [photo/ provided to]

Know Wuxi by 10 surnames: Hua (华)

The Huitong Museum in Wuxi's Dangkou town. [photo/ provided to]


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