Reinventing China's olden arches

Updated: Nov 28, 2023 By XU FAN CHINA DAILY Print
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Wenxing Bridge, nestled among patches of paddy fields, displays upwardly curved eaves and gray-tiled roofs, typical features of ancient bridges in Taishun county, Zhejiang province. FANG JUNCONG/FOR CHINA DAILY

"Because of its topography, Taishun has high mountains and meandering rivers. Before the advent of roads, traveling from one village to another often meant hours spent crossing rivers and scaling mountains. So, covered bridges played a vital role in the rural transportation network and became a little like relay stations for the villagers," says Lan Lina, deputy director of the county's bureau of culture, radio, TV, tourism and sports.

Having grown up in the county, Lan remembers that her father once allowed her to sit on his shoulders, as he carried a bag of gifts across a covered bridge on their way to visit her grandmother.

Her cherished memories are far more than that. Almost all the covered bridges also include shrines for passersby to conveniently worship and pray for safety or good luck. On special days like festivals, the bridges become markets, drawing vendors selling agricultural products and daily items, and sometimes, puppet shows are held on the bridges to entertain the young.

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