Saturday, September 06, 2014

Outing to Songjiang

China's not far from Shanghai. If you take the 9 subway to the last stop (not quite two hours from where I live) you'll find yourself in the old town of 松江 Songjiang. It's home to two old pagodas - I saw the one at 西林禅寺 Xilin temple, its origins going back eight centuries - and 清真寺 the oldest mosque in Shanghai, 700 years young. It's the site also of a beautiful Ming-Qing park named after a drunken poet, 醉白池 Zuibaichi.
No info in English so I don't know if Xilin's pagoda is original or rebuilt.
Five gleaming Buddhas, and cushions for the resident monks.
Too many carp - is the recently rebuilt temple making up for lost time?

As I left a bus of worshippers, armed with high power incense, arrived.
 Facing the mosque entrance the most enchanting wall I've ever seen.

Calligraphic scroll.
 View into the mosque - note the Arabic script in the gateway arch.

Zuibaichi is full of beautiful trees and pavilions

and marvelously shaped windows and archways
and walkways with delirious nested views.

A child played in the rounded entry to a court honoring Dong Qichang.

A blooming tree in one of the many hidden courtyards.
These colors are almost true...
Portal between worlds.
There's still farmland between Songjiang and Shanghai but the horizon
is full of the huge high-rise residential districts of the expanding city.
I'm realizing that 文化花园 Culture Garden, the place I live (the building in the middle), is practically mid-rise by contemporary Chinese standards. A Saturday afternoon powder-blue sky welcomed me home.

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