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"Four treasures of Study" tour

 What's so special about the line
This route allows you a comprehensive and vivid knowledge of the Four Treasures—the writing brush, ink stick, rice paper and ink slab. You’re able to visit Xuancheng, where the first writing brush was born, take a look at the starting point of rice paper and witness how Huizhou ink stick is made, which was awarded a gold medal in Panama.

Mi Fu, a famous litterateur in Song Dynasty, spoke highly of She ink slab. She ink slab and Huizhou ink stick are very famous in Chinese literary history. Thousands of years ago, our ancestors were inspired by pines and then learned how to made Huizhou ink stick. After that, Huizhou was known across China for its excellent Huizhou ink sticks.

Huizhou ink stick traces its roots to Huizhou and is now known across the world.

Introduction of the spots

★ Rice Paper Cultural Park ★

The rice paper cultural park is located in Jingxian county, and it’s the rice paper’s birthplace. It covers an area of 10000 square meters and consists of eight parts: the traditional rice paper workshop, printing of classics on rice paper, experience section of the Four Treasures, visit the rice paper showroom, the museum of Chinese Paper and World Paper, gallery(including artists’ studios), browse the the Four Treasures market for Chinese paintings and calligraphies, and have a stroll at Jiangnan ethnic park.

The rice paper has many unique characteristics, one of it is its long shelf life, making it especially suitable for brush painting and writing, and is thus preferred by artists. Guo Moruo, a renowned writer and history expert once said ”Rice paper is a artistic creation by the Chinese laboring people and Chinese calligraphy and painting cannot convey the sense of beauty without it.” At the park, visitors are able to see how rice papers and some other related items are in made in ancient times. Visitors are also able to experience making rice papers with their own hands.

★ Huangshan Huizhou Ink Stick Plant ★

Huizhou ink stick plays an important role in our country’s ink-stick-making industry. It is named so because it originates in ancient Huizhou. It is one of the Four Treasures and preferred by artists.

Jixi county in Anhui province, Tunxi district and Shexian county in Huangshan city are the two centers in Huizhou-ink-stick making. Its distinct features, special techniques of various kinds gained it a stand in China’s ink-stick-making history and have won endless praises over the generations.

The production of Huizhou ink stick dates back to late Tang Dynasty and was developed in Qing Dynasty when Cao Sugong, Wang Jinsheng, Wang Jiean and Hu Kaiwen were regarded as the “Four Masters in Ink-Stick Making”. In 1915, the “Earth Ink Stick” made by Hu Kaiwen was sent to Panama World Exposition by the National Agricultural and Commercial Department and was awarded a gold medal. Now there are Shexian Hu Kaiwen Ink Stick Plant, Tunxi Ink Stick Plant and in Huizhou District Cao Sugong Ink Stick Plant in Huangshan city.

★ Peach Blossom Pool ★

Located in Jingxian county of Xuancheng city, Taohua (Peach Blossom) Pool is some 40 km west of the county seat.

It is adjacent Huangshan Mountain to the south, Jiuhua Mountain to the west and faces Taiping Lake in the east. Its surface area is vast and its water is crystal-clear.

On the western bank stand many oddly shaped stones and steep cliffs. The charming scenic spots include the Jade-overlapping Mound, Writing Board Stone, Rainbow Hillock and Fishing Mound.

Some 61 tourist attractions are to be found here, including the Former Residence of Wang Jiaxiang (1906-1974, a great leader of the CPC), the old residential houses in Chaji, and the Site of the Military Headquarters of the New Taohua Pool Fourth Army, all of which are quite close to each other.

Coupled with the adventurous tour of the First Drift South of the Yangtze River, visitors can enjoy the pleasure of both ecological and cultural and leisure tours.

The scenic zone also boasts many time-honored cultural relics, such as the Fufeng Guildhall (the earliest guildhall of its kind either at home or abroad) built in the Sui Dynasty (581-618), the Shore of Singing and Stamping and the Justice Gate of the Tang Dynasty (618-907), the Dazhi Building of the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368), China's First Ancestral Temple of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), and the Wenchang Pavilion of the Qing Dynasty (1616-1911).

Furthermore, Ancient Nanyang Town which has been thriving for several dynasties, and the Old Street in Wancun village are all extremely well-preserved, full of the interest and charm of past ages.

★ Tunxi Old Street ★

Tunxi Old Street, which is 823 meters long, is in the center of Huangshan city, and is brimming with a hundred years worth of history. The Old Street is filled with old day charm and is renowned for its Hui style civil architecture. It is by now the best-preserved walking shopping street with buildings fashioned with influences from the Song, Ming and Qing Dynasty architectures.

Old Street’s pavements are graced with dark red slates, which winds as far as the eye can see all the way to the end. The buildings on the street in many ways embody the characteristics of Hui style in Song and Ming Dynasty, thus this is where it earns its name—“Song Street”. Two sections of the street are specially set aside as “Street of Antiques” and “Street of the four treasures in a study”. Wandering around, you may stumble onto “the Four Carving in Huizhou” and other old Chinese crafts everywhere. The Old Street highlights traditional Huizhou culture and has attracted visitors from home and abroad and has TV programs and films made about it. Named as the “Living Tomb-sweeping Day on the River”, the Old Street is a natural spot for all sorts of activities.

Editor: Li Jing

Photo from Anhui Tourism Magazine