Hongjiang Ancient Commercial City
Hongjiang Ancient Commercial City (HACC) boasts a long history and a profound embodiment. It originated from the Spring and Autumn Period in China, took shape in the prosperous Tang Dynasty, and flourished in Ming and Qing Dynasty.
It is famous for the assembling and distribution of Hongjiang Tung Oil, logs, opium, and white wax. It has been reputed as “thoroughfare of seven provinces”, “Small Chongqing”, “Small Nanjing”, “Pearl of West Hunan”, and “Metropolis of the Southwest”.
It was the economic, military, religious, and cultural center of Southwest Hunan. In the reign of Ming and Qing Dynasty, the city was rather prosperous and thriving just as the description says: “businessmen are flocking and clustering; cargo and wealth are concentrated; houses are arrayed in serrate formation; ships are clustered like clouds; lights and chimney smokes are released from thousands of houses; what a marvelous town it is!”.
The businessmen, tourists, and migrant citizens from the 18 provinces, 24 prefectures, and over 80 counties in the country flooded here to conduct their businesses to and fro for many times. The businessmen stayed there for a long time and left a thriving group of descendents. Later business circles were formed to constitute an unprecedented prosperous commerce and economy.
After one-thousand-year historical evolution, HACC still keeps intact over 380 ancient architectures of Ming, Qing, and Republic Period with a total area of nearly 300,000 square meters, such as guest house, firm, tavern, brothel, armed escort firm, workshop, newspaper office, opium house, temple, and residential houses. The architectures’ large scales, grandness, oddity, and intactness are rather rare in China. The Yinziwu Houses (a type of local ancient house, featuring closure and good utilization of space and lighting), which boasts warmth in winter and coolness in summer, are built according to the mountainous physiognomy. They are either built at the high slope, or at the deep alley, or by the riverside, being connected through the winding bluestone slabs or seesawing stone step piers. One by one, patch by patch, with the mountain as the frame, the river as the blood vein, and according to the layout of Yin Yang Ba Gua ( a traditional Chinese diagram showing the harmony between human and nature), the houses lie in undulation within the “seven flatlands, eight alleys, and nine streets”.
Photo credits: Xiao Zhuhua.
All about color