China trip – Southern Anhui Province – Nanping

rustic charm

rustic charm

Our intention was to head back to Tunxi and then catch a bus to some interesting villages slightly to the east. However, we just missed a bus and would have had to wait 3 hours for the next one so… quick change of plans and we were off (without delay) to Nanping instead. Far fewer tourists and generally more rustic, the village has been the backdrop for many a Chinese period film.

alley of Nanping

alley of Nanping

Even narrow alleys had interesting patterns in the stone.

elaborate roof lines

elaborate roof lines

There were three main family names in this village and each had a large ancestral hall for – family reunions?

mossy formal ancestral hall courtyard

mossy formal ancestral hall courtyard

These ancestral halls were quite elaborate and the courtyards and interior halls were grand and spacious.

tiny alley with signs of modern life

tiny alley with signs of modern life

Fire hydrants and electrical cables are fairly well tucked out or sight. Like the other villages, Nanping seemed to have most modern conveniences.

hall used for the filming of  the Zhang Yimou directed "Ju Dou"

hall used for the filming of the Zhang Yimou directed “Ju Dou”

The colourful fabric still left from the filming of Ju Dou animates the courtyard and gives a small glimpse into the imagined past.

feng shui rules applied...

feng shui rules applied…

The doorways are deliberately staggered so that bad energy can’t rush into the house.

Ming dynasty kitchen!

Ming dynasty kitchen!

Now this kitchen that is really out of date! The house actually had four different eras of kitchens intact – above just the Ming dynasty part. Nanping was the only village we had a guide for and this was one of the interesting tidbits gleaned from her commentary .

winding alley in Nanping

winding alley in Nanping

Another alley curves off to somewhere…

looking back at Nanping

looking back at Nanping

Time to go. While heading out to the main road to catch the bus back to Tunxi, the view back shows Nanping’s beautiful setting with rice paddies and mountains.

water buffalo

water buffalo

Further along the road towards the slightly larger road… a water buffalo and her calf watch somewhat warily from the rice paddy as we pass by.

photos (cc) 2013 Hilary Farmer

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4 Responses to “China trip – Southern Anhui Province – Nanping”

  1. So awesome that you are getting to see parts of the “real China.” Us city folk forget that there is another way to live…and sometimes I’m envious. Great photos!

    • Yes! It is a China that looks like the idea of China… But is it ” real” ? As far as that goes, I am sure there is a lot of government and tourist money helping to keep these places ” real “… They sure are beautiful though!
      Thanks for commenting!

  2. Fascinating and gorgeous look into the past! How big are these villages? Either in terms of geographic extent or number of people? A village with three main families would be 500-1000 people, assuming the main families are around half the population?

    • Good questions… these three villages are all geographically quite small and easy to wall around. Historically, Nanping would have had a population of about 1000 in 300 households – good guess! Hongcun, which looks the largest now, was only 150 households and Xidi had 800 households at its peak in the Qing dynasty. Hongcun as a fairly significant tourist destination has expanded a bit but they have kept the new part on the other side of the river from the old village and tried to keep the buildings looking as if they fit in…
      Tunxi, where we arrived by train is a fair sized city now with just a core of old town. In fact, Tunxi has been absorbed into Huangshan City which surrounds it.

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