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Culture of White Emperor City

Inside White Emperor City

White Emperor City, at the narrows of Qutang Gorge on Yangtze River, is an ancient city with long history and rich culture. It is well-known for its historical story, calligraphies and inscriptions.

Historical Story of White Emperor City

In the history of Three Kingdoms, the senior general of Shu Kingdom, Guan Yu was killed by Wu Kingdom. The emperor of Shu Kingdom, Liu Bei was eager to revenge for Guan Yu. He leaded the troops and marched to attack Wu Kingdom. But he was defeated in the war. What's worse, he was sick in Yong'an Palace of White Emperor City. Knowing that he would die soon, he sent some one to Chengdu for Zhuge Liang (the military counselor of Shu Kingdom) to get his affairs in order.

He sent other people away and only called Zhuge Liang in. He told Zhuge Liang that if his son was not competent enough to govern the kingdom, Zhuge Liang had the power to govern it. Moved by the trust from his emperor, Zhuge Liang promised to manage the kingdom well and revive the Han royalty. Then Liu Bei called his son, Liu Shan in and entrust him to Zhuge Liang. From then on, Zhuge Liang devoted himself to helping Liu Shan govern the Shu Kingdom till he died.

Calligraphies and Inscriptions in White Emperor City

"I left the rosy-clouds-embraced White Emperor City and started my trip in the morning. The water flow of Three Gorges was so fast that I arrived the 1000-kilometers-away-Jiangling in one day." This is one line from the poem of the great poet Li Bai in Tang Dynasty. Not only Li Bai, many other outstanding poets and scholars in the history, such as Du Fu, Bai Juyi, Liu Yuxi etc. were attracted to White Emperor City and left countless elegant calligraphies and inscriptions here.

Calligraphies and inscriptions in White Emperor City can be divided into two kinds. The first kind is the inscriptions on precipices by the scholars, officials and calligraphers. These inscriptions on precipices are carved on the cliffs at the river bank in White Emperor City. They were inscribed from Song and Yuan Dynasty to the Republican period. The majority of them are official scripts and regular scripts. The earliest inscription on precipices is located beside the Phoenix Fountain in Qutang Gorge. It is 4.1 meters high and 7.2 meters wide with an area of 29.52 square meters. There are altogether 948 characters in regular script on it. It was inscribed in Song Dynasty.

The second kind is the inscriptions on stone tablets. They were inscribed successively in Sui and Tan Dynasties and Ming and Qing Dynasties. The most worth referring inscription is the epigraph of Longshangong. It is about 1,400 years old with a height of 0.87 meters and a width of 0.5 meters. It is written in regular script. On the top of the tablet carved a dragon and on both the sides of the tablet carved lotus flowers. There are also many stone tablets engraved with poems. All of the inscriptions of our ancestors show the colorful culture of White Emperor City.