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Black Canopy Boats

5 May 2009

< On this Labour Day long weekend, a young Chinese groom sends a troop of black canopy boats to invite his bride and her family to their new love nest.

Shaoxing (绍兴) is an ancient township east China's coastal Zhejiang Province with at least 4,000 years of history. As legends go, during the period of the massive flood, Great Yu (大禹) twice visited his newly wed wife in Shaoxing when he worked on his emergency flood control project.

More than 2,000 years later in the Spring and Autumn period (770BC - 476BC), a kingdom named Yue () set its capital in Shaoxing, which crafted the best swords in China.

-- 陆游《鹊桥仙》

Shaoxing is renowned for its extensive network of waterways, picturesque bridges, distinctively flavoured rice wine and brilliant achievements in calligraphic art, with the list of the celebrated historical figures extremely long, which includes calligrapher Wang Xizhi ( 王羲之, 303 - 361), poet Lu You (陆游, 1125 - 1210) and late Chinese Primer Zhou Enlai (周恩来, 1898 - 1976).

But what makes Shaoxing truly visually unique is the scene of black mat canopy boats (乌篷船) sailing in the winding rivers along elegant timber houses with arched stone bridges in the background.

(Source of info/photos: 新华社梁永锋)

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