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Home Hangzhou Attractions Lin Bu & Fang He Pavilion

Lin Bu & Fang He Pavilion


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This is a storytelling article about a great reclusive poet Lin Bu of Song Dynasty, and his interesting story remembered as Plum Wife and Crane Son, while The Pavilion of Fang He is the relic site he left to us nearby the West Lake. If you prefer the classic culture of China, this essay is unavoidable, for this soul was the symbolic one of reclusive figures in ancient China!

Who was Lin Bu?

In terms of the record of The History of Song(宋史, a historical book recording the history of Song from 960 to 1279,and one of 24 histories of China), Lin Bu(林逋, 967-1028) was a native of Hangzhou, whose courtesy name was Jun Fu. He was an orphan at his childhood but learnt hard. The character was quite indifferent to fame and gain, and adore the lifestyle of the ancient people. He led a poor life, but felt quite satisfied with the life he had (it is the typical depiction to the reclusive people and Taoists in ancient times, and that is the common mentality of ancient great souls). Firstly, he visited around the areas of The Yangtze River and The Huai River. Long after he returned to Hangzhou, and built a humble house nearby the West Lake and on the back of the Solitary Hill, and in 20 years, he never walked into the city zone.

At the time, Emperor Zhenzong (968-1022) heard of his fame and presented him much food and silks, and also commanded the local governor to pay a visit to his house and ask whether he needed helps or not annually. Xue Ying and Li Ji, two famous high-rank officials, always met him when they were in Hangzhou, and talked all day long. He was open-minded, and made his own tomb by himself close to his house. After he passed away, Emperor Renzong(1023-1063), gave a posthumous title to him – He Jing (和靖), which is popularly known in the culture history of China.

Lin Bu was good at the running script and preferred creating the poems. His poem was strongly characteristic of strangeness, deepness and specialness. But interestingly, he always threw away the poems once he created them. Someone asked him why not record them to inspire the later generations. He replied that” I retreat in the deep mountains and forest, and do not want to be famous for my poems, let alone the later ages”. Some of his poem lovers stole some, which are the poems we can read today, approximately more than 300 poems.

fang he pavilion lin bu tomb
An ancient painting portraying Lin Bu stares at the flying crane. It is simple but philosophical This is the tomb of Lin Bu situated at the northeast side of the Solitary Hill, West Lake Scenic Area

The Story of Plum Wife and Crane Son & Fang He Pavilion

This is a story in ancient China to express a higher and more purified personal taste. The tomb of Lin Bu is located in the northeast side of the Solitary Hill. Lin Bu did not marry for the whole life. Apart from composing poems and painting in his spare time, he concentrated on raising cranes and planting plum trees to enjoy their blossoms. Thus, people said that the plum blossoms were his wives and the cranes his sons. Hence, the saying "Plum Wife and Crane Son" became his nickname and was remembered and came down from generation to generation. Today, Crane Pavilion and its surrounding areas are the best places for appreciating plum blooms in early spring.

Fang He Ting is another relic that Lin Bu left. Originally, the pavilion was built in the Yuan Dynasty, and rebuilt in 1915. In the pavilion, there is a large stele inscription with the essay of Wu He Fu, a famous article composed by Bao Zhao(鲍照, 414-466) in Southern and Northern Dynasties(420-589) . The characters were all calligraphically written by Emperor Kangxi, who learnt the style of calligraphy of Dong Qichang, a great master of calligraphy in Late Ming Dynasty, during his visit to Hangzhou. The essay is comprised of 466 Chinese characters and impressively depicted the beautiful image of crane and its talents of dancing. Nearby the Fang He Pavilion, there is the Tomb of Crane, and the crane was named He Gao and raised by Lin Bu.

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Editor: Julius from Mildchina
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