Chalk Wall

If you happen to be a calligraphy enthusiast, the Chalk Wall of the Qutang Gorge is sure to astound you. This 1 kilometer of polished limestone spur of the Baiyan Mountain spreads out along the south bank of the river, and contains close to 1000 characters. Ranging from 1 square centimeter to 2 square meters the earliest of these inscriptions date form the Song Dynasty (960-1279) and are of various styles such as: seal, official, cursive and running style. The earliest stele is the epigraph by Zhao Gongshuo, a calligrapher of the South Song Dynasty (1127-1279). His epigraph is carved on a cliff 4 meters (13 feet) high and 7 meters (23 feet) long, with more than 980 characters tells about the merits and virtues of the emperors at that time.

Viewed from passing ships, the most striking characters are 'Kuimen' by Zhang Boxiang of Qing Dynasty; and 'Kuitang' by Liu Xinyuan. Kuomintang General Feng Yuxiang also declared his firm determination to defeat the Japanese invaders on the wall.

In anticipation of their inundation by the head pond of the Three Gorges Project the inscriptions on the Chalk Wall were either moved or copied to a location above the normal pool level. In this way these historical and unique calligraphy remain to be viewed by future generations.

Water-Stealing Holes

At the entrance of the Qutang Gorge there is a series of holes chiseled into the cliffs on the north bank. These rectangular holes are set in parallel lines, each hole being 30 cm (about 1 foot) high and 32 cm (about1.1 feet) wide. The reason these man-made holes are referred to as Water-stealing Holes is believed to have its roots in a historical event which occurred during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644).

It is said that during the years 1628 to 1644, Zhang Xianzhong led a big army consisting of peasants to overthrow the Ming Dynasty. Zhang wanted to control Kuimen, the entrance of the Qutang Gorge, because it was a military stronghold between Sichuan and Hubei Provinces. Zhang and his forces conquered Baidi City and made it their base in order to guard the Qutang Gorge. This so worried the emperor that he dispatched his army to block the river from the upper reaches so that the enemy would retreat due to a shortage of food and drinking water.

To get water from the deep valley, Zhang decided to chisel holes in the cliff and insert wooden poles as a stairway down to the river. The water was fetched at night. The plan did not work very well, however, for it produced a very limited water supply, but the holes still remain today.


More Qutang Gorge Attractions:

 Ancient Plank Roads 
 Bellows Gorge & Rhinoceros Looking at the Moon
 Meng Liang Stairway

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