Saturday 15 September 2007

China: Qiao House and the Shuanglin Temple

Our first glimpse of the Chinese countryside came on a drive to a local attraction, the Qiao family courtyard house located about 20km north of Pingyao, built during the Qing Dynasty.

The house was the location for the film 'Raise the Red Lantern' (I hadn't heard of it either). In the grounds are six courtyards and over 300 rooms which we toured in combat with hundreds of Chinese groups. These were lead by young guides equipped with microphones to broadcast their high-pitched shrill above that of the adjacent group. The buildings were very well preserved, but some of the exhibits require preservation before they are lost forever.

Emerging with a headache, we drove to the Shuanglin Temple located about 7 km southwest of Pingyao. With considerably fewer tourists, we wandered the musty buildings that were full of exquisite wood and clay statues, dating from the 12th to 19th centuries. Some of the dust had been there since that time too.

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