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Pingnan villagers welcome New Year together on bridge

( chinadaily.com.cn )

Updated: 2016-02-15

Pingnan villagers welcome New Year together on bridge

Pingnan county, in northeastern Fujian province, saw more than 600 villagers sit down around 50 dining tables on the Wan'an Bridge in Changqiao village on Feb 11 to welcome the New Year of the Monkey, according to pingnan.ccoo.cn.

Wan'an Bridge, built in the Song Dynasty (960-1279), is the longest existing timber arch lounge bridge nationwide.

Pingnan has 13 such ancient bridges. They share the same structure, with 61 round cedar longitudinal beams and 10 transverse beams connected with mortises and tenons to form a splayed bridge arch.

Eight beams constitute four X-shape scissor forks to prevent the bridge arch from swaying left to right; rods are inserted into the arch for support, and planks are transversely placed on the support to form the bridge deck.

A bridge house is built on the bridge deck, with a double-slope roof or an overhanging gable roof.

In spite of their wide span, the bridges are made stable by inlaying of purlins and rafters, rather than nails.

Pingnan villagers welcome New Year together on bridge

These unique buildings resemble the Bianshuihong Bridge in the painting "Riverside Scene at Tomb Sweeping Festival" created by Zhang Zeduan in the Song Dynasty. However, the arcade bridges substitute Bianshuihong's tying structure with a mortise and tenon structure.

Fengshui, the traditional Chinese study of geomancy for buildings or cemeteries, plays an important role in selecting locations for timber arch lounge bridges.

The bridges are built around river outlets, where villagers believe good fortune slips away.

The bridges of eastern Fujian each have a shrine in a corridor-type passageway with a width of two meters or more in the middle of a bridge house.

Timber arch lounge bridges have attracted attention since the 1980s. In 2012, they entered the China UNESCO World Heritage Tentative List.

Nowadays, timber arch lounge bridges are the hallmark of eastern Fujian.