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Seven Treasures Town (1)
Qibao - An Old Town in Shanghai
七宝老街

10 June 2010
 

It is said that if you want to know how Shanghai looks in the recent decade, you should go to Pudong (the east of the Huangpu River); if you want to know how Shanghai looked a hundred years ago, you should go to The Bund (the western foreshore of the Huangpu River); and if you want to know how Shanghai looked a thousand years ago, you should go to Seven Treasures Town (十年上海看浦东,百年上海看外滩,千年上海看七宝。)

Shanghai as a grand metropolitan is a rather recent phenomenon, but as the urban settlement surrounded by one of the most fertile farmlands in China with the most advanced textile industry and a highly progressive culture, it is as ancient as Suzhou (苏州), Wuxi (无锡), Changzhou (常州), Nanjing (南京), Jiaxing (嘉兴), Hangzhou (杭州) and Shaoxing (绍兴), which all have an urban history stretching back thousands of years.

There were numerous ancient towns in Shanghai, from City God’s Town (Chenghuangmiao 城隍庙) in the heart of Shanghai, Zhu Family’s Corner (Zhujiajiao 朱家角) near Lake Tai (太湖) in Qingpu District (青浦区), Jiading old town (嘉定), a heroic township that suffered systematic genocidal massacres for three times during its fierce battles against Manchurians invasion to Wusong Town (吴淞镇) in the mouth of Huangpu River where Huangpu meets Yangtze, but few have survived the architectural genocidal massacre in a decade of redevelopment and Westernisation. One of such lucky towns is Seven Treasures Town in Minghang District (闵行区).

 

A traditional highway that links the town to its surrounding areas. The stone steps by the shore were served as laundry where housewives washed family clothes.

 

An suspended and arched open space in the heart of the town where people come to view the boats passing through the bridge and to exchange news and gossips around the world.

 

A simple and graceful entrance archway to the CBD of the town

 

A liquor store in the CBD selling own-made Seven Treasure Rice Wine (七宝大曲)

 

From one part of the CBD to another through the bridge with many steps (a way to force its residents to do body toning exercise!)

 

The CBD in the traditional Chinese fashion with intimately scaled street, slab paved ground and full open shop front

 

A teahouse with daily performance of shuoshu (说书: a storytelling art in Suzhou dialect), ping tan (a story-singing art in Suzhou dialect) and Yue Opera.

 

The guests drink the tea while watching/listening the show and cracking the roasted seeds/broad beans (in the old days).

 

Local flavour: Old Street Dumpling (老街汤圆), made of sticky rice with red bean paste or pork mince fillings.

 

Local flavour: Seven Treasures Square Cake (七宝方糕) cooked with steam and tasted fluffy and sweet.

 

Local flavour: Short soup cooked with stock, spring rolls and fried stuffed buns

 

Local flavour: Seven Treasures Town Long Soup with rice or flour needles

 

Seven Treasures Town used to be the centre of Seven Treasures Commune (七宝人民公社: collective farm) where new China's founding father Mao Zedong once visited. The locals still keep the memory of his visit alive.

 

During the Lantern Festival (on the first full moon night of the lunar year) and the Middle Autumn Festival (on the eighth full moon night of the lunar year), giant lanterns are displayed in the street.

Prev: The Tale of Two Gates
Next: An Old Shanghai Town (2)

 
 
RELATED:

An automobile-production team led by college student Sun Brave (孙勇敢) and joined by four of his flatmates in Xian, the hometown of the First Emperor’s Qin’s brave-looking but action-lacking terra cotta warriors, has produced the first car made of discarded cigarette packs. The vehicle weighted only 300 km and is, believe it or not, capable of moving, though very slowly and for a short distance. But it moves, which is an action!

The brave Sun and his mates hope their cigarette-car can help remind their fellow students in the campus that how much rubbish smokers can generate, apart from polluting the air and other people's lungs.

(Source of info/photo: 赵雄韬 - 华商网)


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