Ancient Chongqing

Two hours outside the city center is Mount Baoding, one of two mountains in Dazu County (I wrote this incorrectly in my last post), a World Heritage Site (checkin’ it off my bucket list, oh yeah!). On the mountain are Dazu Rock Carvings of Buddhist, Taoist and Confucian influence from the days way before yore. People back then obviously had a lot of time, patience and unmatched artistic abilities as they were able to produce these magnificent sculptures and carvings. Here’s what I’m talking about:

Guanyin and the Thousand Arms

The rock carvings are some of the most unbelievable things I’ve ever laid eyes on. It’s amazing to me that something from centuries ago (7th century AD to be exact, thanks Wiki) can still exist.

Dazu county, besides the mountains, is known for its quality knives. Many modern rock sculptures–lions that guard banks for example–are also made here. I guess the skills from sculptors of the Dazu Rock Carvings were inherited by today’s Dazu residents; it’s in their blood.


Not quite as old as the Dazu Rock Carvings is Longxing Ancient Town, which I dub “Mahjong Heaven.” Despite it being a tourist attraction, fortunately still a minor one, my walk through the old alleys felt more like a stroll through the locals’ neighborhood. People hung out everywhere–a girl washing her hair in a bucket on her doorstep, kids running around being kids, all the cafes filled with people playing mahjong, clothes drying outside, the elderly on break from mahjong resting on benches chatting away, vendors selling goods at their front door. It is the friendliest, most bustling and homey town I’ve come across in a long time, perhaps because it is small. But actually, in general Chongqing gives off a friendlier vibe than Beijing. Maybe it has to do with the climate. Colder weather, colder people? Warm sunshine, warmer people?

Mahjong Madness!


Longxing used to be farmland, but the Chongqing government in its endeavor to develop the city bought the land (I believe for a fair price) and began building it up. My aunt says the reason people there have so much time to play mahjong (aside from it being Spring Festival) is because these former farmers have no more land to cultivate, and also because they are much better off than when they were farmers (they now run all the small businesses in town). My aunt also says in 10 years this part of Chongqing will become the next most developed area of the city. If this is so, I’m glad I got to visit Longxing before the streets become crowded with tourists.

We bought two chickens from him. (Is that a beer in his hand?! I just noticed this! I've been noticing a lot of new things in my photographs since this new WP theme displays HUGE photos!)

Here they are! (Sorry chickens, but you are guaranteed fresh. I hope you have a better afterlife.)

This little one's got the blues.

and this little one is pooping in the street hehehehe (I didn't notice the poo under her butt until I uploaded this photo!!)

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19 Comments on “Ancient Chongqing”

  1. this is really beautiful stuff , keep it coming ! Im guessing this is the same Chungking if it is are there any memorials or tributes built to the lives lost when the Japanese bombed Chungking?

    • Emily He says:

      Thanks “dave”! Yes, I’m sure there are memorials for Japanese bombing but I didn’t see any during my visit. Instead, I saw a lot of memorials for Chongqing’s independence from Kuomingtang. I’ll have to look into your question more…

  2. occultoantonio says:

    wow, GREAT POST, Emily. It’s very interesting and beautiful.

  3. mooselicker says:

    I wish I could buy chickens from men on the street 😦

  4. I love ancient carvings. Especially those from Asian continents.

    Go down one street and buy chickens for dinner, or eggs. Next street buy some soup. Next street dodge the baby poo.

    And when I first watched the slide show I didn’t see the titles, I thought for a second the apothecary was a Chinese Ollivander’s Wand Shop.

  5. michaeljones909 says:

    Hey Emily, what a place,those carvings really are something special!.Its hard to imagine people actually did this with tools in hand,i wonder how long it actually took?,and the street shots,well can’t get enough of them, life taking place china style,oh except for the poop one haha little bit to much life tacking place haha, yeah i know attitudes are very different in lots of respects in places like this.
    Things have to move on their, but i hope they strike a balance between development and preservation it world be a shame to loose all of its old world charm.

    I’ve missed reading your post,glad your back.

    • Emily He says:

      Michael Jones, I’ve tried digging and digging for your blog, but I never seem to find one! I’m glad you read mine though 🙂 I’m very grateful!

      As for life taking place, yes, the poop is a little much but I didn’t know she was pooping until I uploaded the photo onto my computer!! The display on my camera was too small to notice the poo and I didn’t take a close look while I was snapping the photo!! Anyway..TMI again…

      I too hope that development will not overrun the original beauty of Longxing. I’m SURE the ancient alleys will remain, but I’m also certain it will become more commercialized as more people move in. Only time will tell, but as history has shown us, tall glass buildings and Starbucks have a magical force upon people and places. Sigh..

  6. Amaaaazing pics, Emily! And those chickens in a bag? Soooo chapina.

    • Emily He says:

      and soooo delicious! I’m so glad I can say that to you now without offending your vegetarianism. Not that your vegetarianism was a bad thing, in fact it was a great thing and so environmentally friendly!! But you and I both know that it’s practically impossible to be a veggie living in Guatemala or China. Good thing you’ve changed your diet because now you’re further prepared for el chino!

  7. How clean was it? I’ve noticed that there’s always trash everywhere in China, even amazing cultural sites. Anyway, Chingqing is on my list of places to visit too!

    • Emily He says:

      It was actually pretty clean if I remember correctly, minus the nut and seed shells on the ground. But at least in the alleys itself, I remember it being clean. Not so sure about the actual streets in the center of town… If you do go to Chongqing make sure you give yourself time to take a cruise to the Three Gorges (I have yet to visit, but I’m dying to!)!!

  8. annaamazhang says:

    I have not visited many places in China yet but I did travel to the Shanxi Province for the October holiday and visited PingYao which your pictures bring me reminiscence.

    • Emily He says:

      Cool! Haven’t been to those places yet. Will you be returning to the states for more college when you’re done at Tsinghua? How is that university anyway? I’ve been looking into a grad program, or an intensive Chinese program, or something to make me more productive.

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