March 14, 2014

1031 CHINA (Hubei) - The hometown of the poet Qu Yuan

Qu Yuan (343-278 BC) was a poet who served in high offices in the ancient state of Chu, known for his contributions to the classical poetry, especially through the poems of the Chu Ci anthology (also known as The Songs of the South), written in exile. It is said that, when his king decided to ally with the powerful state of Qin, Qu was banished for opposing the alliance and even accused of treason. Twenty-eight years later, Qin captured Ying (the Chu capital), and Qu Yuan committed suicide by drowning himself in the Miluo River.

It seems that the locals, who admired him, raced out in their boats to save him or at least retrieve his body. This fact it is supposed that was the origin of the Dragon Boat Festival (Duanwu Festival), marked until 1949 as a festival culturally in China. Because his body couldn't be found, the people dropped balls of sticky rice into the river so that the fish would eat them instead of Qu Yuan's body. This is said to be the origin of zongzi (rice dumplings).

The hometown of Qu Yuan is Zigui, located on the north bank of the Yangtze, around one kilometer away from the Three Gorges Dam (The original town of Zigui, located at the exit of the Xiling Gorge, was submerged when was built the dam). In 1981 was opened to the public the Qu Yuan Memorial. Frankly speaking, I don't think there still exist such houses, with adobe walls and thatched roof, in urban area in China, the postcard trying just to recreate the hometown of the poet, namely is rather a symbolic image. I don't even know if it's a house or a barn, and what gather the man from the picture. However is obvious that the photo was taken after harvesting, because some of the baskets are full.

About the stamps
The first two stamps, depicting a rosewood embedded marble armchair (Qing Dynasty) and a rosewood drum stool embedded marble (Ming Dynasty), are part of the first set of the series Ming and Qing Dynasty Furniture, about which I wrote here. The third stamp, depicting a Gilt-Bronze Manjusri Bodhisattva (Ming Dynasty), is part of the series Gold and Bronze Buddha Statues, about which I wrote here. The fourth stamp is part of a set of four, belonging to the series Protecting the common homeland of mankind, about which I wrote here. The fifth is part of a set of two, belonging to the same series Protecting the common homeland of mankind, about which I also wrote here.

Duanwu Festival - Wikipedia
The Sad story of Qu Yuan - Beijing International
Zigui, hometown of Qu Yuan - Travel in Hubei

Sender: Kun Hu (direct swap)
Sent from ? (? / China), on 20.07.2013

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