Located in Shaanxi Province, Mount Huashan was already mentioned in the “Classic of Mountains and Seas”. Qing dynasty scholar Zhang Taiyan even believes that it is one of the cradles of Chinese civilisation. In 1949, towards the end of the Chinese Civil War, the People’s Liberation Army used bamboo poles and ropes to climb the precipitous cliffs of Mount Huashan in order to reach its North Peak. This trail was later paved and named “The Intelligent Take-over Route of Mount Huashan”.
Shuangquan Village, which lies in the vicinity of the mountain, is the birthplace of Huayin Old Tune, a type of music dubbed “China’s most ancient style of rock and roll”. Research has deduced that it evolved from the calls that Western Han dynasty boatmen used to made. Although it has been included in the Representative List of China’s National Intangible Cultural Heritage, this ancient art form is sadly facing the cruel fate of being lost due to a lack of inheritors.
Early humans excavated caves to use them as dwellings. Yangjiagou to the north of Yan’an is home to the Ma Family Manor, a cave home complex. Arranged in a configuration described as “Five Exposed, Four Concealed, Six Compartmental”, the courtyard cave dwellings served as the residences of prestigious families in the Qing dynasty. During the Chinese Civil War, the People’s Liberation Army was also stationed here under Mao Zedong’s leadership.
The inhabitants of the Loess Plateau have subsisted on millet for millennia. It was even an imperial tribute in the Ming and Qing dynasties. This drought-resistant grain is the only crop that can be grown in the dry climate of Mizhi County. Generations of farmers have been persevering silently, all in the hope that their offspring can have a way out.
Meanwhile, peculiar landscapes are on display below the plateau. A Danxia landform area the size of Kowloon Peninsula featuring wavy red sandstone terrain can be found in Jingbian County. A festive dance is performed amidst this masterpiece of nature – Jingbian Donkey Running. How does its inheritor Zhang Youwan attract the younger generation to learn this craft?
Producer: Tsang Chor-sun
In this episode, our presenter will travel from Maqu River, the source of the Yellow River in Qinghai, to The Great Bend of the Yellow River in Gansu. She will learn the national intangible cultural heritage of the Lanzhou Taiping Drum Dance and marvel at a World Heritage Irrigation Structure – the ancient canals diverting the waters of the Yellow River in Ningxia. After passing through the World Heritage Site that is the Bingling Cave-Temple Complex, we will stop by Hukou Waterfall in Shanxi and visit Xinguan Town, where Mao Zedong wrote the poem “Snow, to the Tune of Spring in Qin Garden” when he led the Red Army into Shilou County from Qingjian County, Shaanxi. Finally, we will arrive at the estuary where the Yellow River drains into the Bohai Sea in Shandong and take a closer look at another national intangible cultural heritage – Weifang Kites.
Producer: Leslie Ng