Saturday, 14 December 2013

Historic Shawan Town - 1 Dec 2013

It's too stressful to go downtown on a weekend, so we'd rather have a more relaxing Sunday at the nearby Shawan Ancient Village in Panyu District. The environment here is even more idyllic than Xiaozhou Arts Village at this point in time. 

Walls clad with oyster shells were more common here than Xiaozhou. 

Shawan ancient village is a new attraction, not yet even listed in tourist brochures. It's very spacious, with rooms to wonder around and get lost without worrying about the boys.

Shawan a ghost town?

 There was discontent over the entrance fee of RMB55 per person, that's why it's not promoted by the tour agencies. There's no ticketing booth, rather the crew would look for visitors for the payment. It's very inconsistent, we didn't even know we need to pay and no one approached us for payment either.

Most will come for the popular local delicacy: the Ginger Milk Curd ('Shuang Pi Nai'), a hot dessert originated from Shawan town. Water buffalo milk is used in the original recipe. We have ours at 'Qin Fang Yuan' restaurant, reported to be the original Shuang Pi Nai maker from Shawan. Other popular snacks include fried milk, sesame paste, etc. If you can't take ginger, there's a milk & egg combi curd which is equally yummy!

Built at the end of the Southern Song dynasty, Shawan is very impressive, rich in the ancient Lingnan architecture and the Cantonese culture. It'll bring the visitors back in time....

Narrow alleys and lanes, built in Lingnan architecture

Remains of the oyster shell walls from the Ming dynasty.

Sculptures depicting the lifestyle of Shawan decorated the town

Shawan ancient village was founded by the Ho clan. The town was considered the birthplace of Canton opera, lion dance and much folk art. Many famous craftsmen, artists, sculptors and musicians left their marks in the village, which become the characteristics of the Cantonese culture and Lingnan architecture.

Liugeng Hall, a famous ancestral in the town dated in 1275 (few years b4 the collapse of Southern Song under the Mongol invasions). The hall was rebuilt a few times and the current layout was built in the Qing dynasty. Also known as the He Clan Ancestral Hall to give honor to the Ho family who founded Shawan.

Showcase of the ancient folk Lingnan architecture in Guangzhou.

Cantonese culture is seen in many forms of carvings - in wood, stone, bricks, pottery with pictures like flowers, birds, fruits and scenery....

Scholars in ancient China were highly respected with tablets honouring those who excelled in the public examinations.

Adding colours to the dull grey walls....

Layers of walls spanning different dynasties and periods were preserved.

A local artist who's oblivious to the onlookers... generally this place is not commercial like some well-known old villages.

Narrow streets like a maze....

A literary corner for inspiration?

A small, quaint inn offering visitors who want a longer stay in this peaceful town.

Modern street arts found its place in this ancient village.

The Memorial Hall of Academician He Binglin, a 24th generation of the Shawan's Ho clan. He was a renowned chemist and educator and the 1st person in China to carry out a test explosion of an atomic bomb successfully. Also nicknamed the father of ion-exchange resin, a chemical process vital to separate and/or purify water, metals, sugars, other components.

The sculpture was so alive!

Quiet and idyllic Shawan town outside the ancient village.

A baby taking a lift in a local makeshift car seat!

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