Bayong Tower
发布日期:2022-09-13 浏览次数:

Bayong Tower (lit. Eight Odes Building) was originally called Building of Xuanchang (lit. Mystic Exultation) and is located in the southeast corner of the central part of Jinhua. Facing south, the building overlooks the Wujiang River from an imposing height and is made of stone. It was built in 494 at the instructions of Shen Yue, then prefecture warden of Dongyang.

Ascending heights and embracing a distant view was a traditional habit of literati, and Shen, too, found himself facing the superb landscape in front of him when he was inspired to chant the fresh and smooth “Ascending the Loft of Mystic Exultation”:

Precipitous peaks surround the northern hill;

A lofty summit juts above the southern crest.

Midway, a loft which has withstood the wind

Looks backwards towards a river’s southern shore.

Its banks are sheer from its frequent rise and fall;

Its rapids level, alternatively shoal and deep.

The river’s flow is formed by three converging branches,

While the loft is high and overlooks four sides.

Atop is a wanderer absented from the crowd,

A wanderer whose heart is longing to go home.

The setting sunlight is reflected on the long embankment;

Glowing light illuminates the middle shore.

Clouds form; the mountain ranges suddenly grow black;

The sun has set, the stream now half in darkness.

Truly beautiful, but not my native soil!

Why do I not remove my official hairpin?

After writing this piece, Shen felt something was left unfinished, so he composed another five-syllable poem titled “Eight Odes,” consisting of eight verses. This became a literary masterpiece of its time. Thus the building was named after this unique work in the history of poetry since the Tang Dynasty.

In 1187, during the reign of Chunxi of the Southern Song Dynasty, Bayong Tower was expanded, and Shen Yue’s poem “Eight Odes” was engraved on a stone tablet. During the reign of Emperor Huangqing of the Yuan Dynasty (1312-1313), the building was destroyed by fire. In 1372, under Hongwu of the Ming Dynasty, Baowu Temple was rebuilt, and Yuhuang Pavilion was built on the abandoned site of Bayong Tower. Between 1573 and 1620, Bayong Tower was rebuilt, and the existing Bayong Tower was finally rebuilt during the Jiaqing period of the Qing Dynasty (1796-1820) and restored in 1984.

The tower consists of four buildings: the first one is the main building, with double-eaved pavilions, roofs resembling mountains and ridges, winged corners upturned, and stone platform foundations. Thanks to the fame of “Bayong” and Shen’s reputation in the history of poetry, Bayong Tower became a must-visit location for literati. Among them, Li Qingzhao of the Southern Song Dynasty is one of the most representative poets who also from the Bayong Tower composed “Bayong Tower”, a poem that puts on full display the majesty of Bayong Tower in the strategic city of Jinhua:

How wonderful the Eight Odes Tower is.

I’m leaving the great lands for the descendants to worry about.

Waterways bring the vast south of China

to this river-filled city.

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