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West Lake- Historical figures

08-02-2012 14:46 BJT

The West Lake owes the fame not only to its scenic beauty but also to its honor to be closely related to noted historical figures. The lake and the figures have made each other well known and brought out the best in each other.

Some of the figures are those who made great contributions to the beautification of the lake. The famous poet-governor Bai Juyi of the Tang Dynasty was the first one to organize a large-scale dredging during his term. In the Northern Song, another famous poet-governor Su Dongpo dredged the lake thoroughly and used the silt to form the charming Su Causeway.

In the 10th century during the Kingdom of Wuyue, King Qian Liu formed a 1,000-strong dredging team to look after the lake. Although much of the lake got silted up during the Yuan Dynasty, dredging revived again in 1508 under the Ming when the newly appointed prefect Yang Mengying came. He launched a dredging project that lasted more than 5 months. The great Qing Dynasty emperors Kangxi and Qianlong expanded the lake to its present proportions, while making frequent sightseeing tours here and inscribing tablets of most of popular scenes.

Others are remembered as national heroes and revolutionary martyrs buried around the lake. Without them the lake would not give such a deep impression. Among them, there are General Yue Fei, who resisted Jin invaders, and Qiu Jin, an outstanding heroine, who fought against the decadent Qing court. Also we have Yu Zisan, an ex-student of Zhejiang University, who died as a revolutionary martyr for the birth of New China. They all laid down their lives for the justice in China’s various historical periods.

For centuries, the West Lake has inspired a great number of noted artists, poets and men of letters. Coming from different parts of the country, some of them resided here all their lives, while others lived here some time to work or study. Famous poets Bai Juyi of the Tang Dynasty and Su Dongpo of the Northern Song Dynasty served the city governors in their respective times.

The Northern Song hermit-poet Lin Hejin secluded himself till death at the foot of Solitary Hill. Modern master painters Wu Changshuo, Huang Binhong and Pan Tianshou, distinguished writers Yu Quyuan, Su Manshu, Li Shutong and Ma Yifu had their homes by the lake and were buried here after death. As it is their poetry, prose and paintings that make the lake so particular, it is the lake that makes their work so popular.

Editor:Zheng Limin |Source: eng.hangzhou.gov.cn

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