Sunday, March 01, 2015

Shenyang days

In the interests of economy, pictures are in strictly chronological order.
Arriving in Shenyang I saw snowy landscape through smog, but the days I was there were actually mostly bright and clear (but not too cold).

First stop, the 1969 Mao statue, one of not so many left in the PRC.
It includes Cultural Revolution destruction of the "four olds."

In the "east tomb" 东陵 lies Nurhaci, founder of the Qing Dynasty.

Splendid, and glorious in the crisp winter light.

In the center of the city (at that stage called Mukden) is the palace of the Qing. Predecessor to Beijing's Forbidden City (and also known as a Forbidden City), its entrance is flanked by two gates like this one.
The Manchus liked their dragons writhy and complete with claws.

Much of the gugong 故宫 is classic Manchu architecture, apparently.

One of the concubine's quarters, with a hanging cradle.
My friend O, his scarf nicely matching the palace, helps navigate...
The most famous part - emblem of the city - is the circular hall below.

At the Liaoning Provincial Museum I learned that these parts upset all sorts of narratives of Chinese as well as human history. For instance, this is Jinniushan 金牛山 Man. He lived here 280,000 years ago, enough to complicate many out-of-Africa stories. Full of non-Han peoples
Liaoning isn't the traditional "cradle of Chinese culture" either, but is here put to work legitimating a pluralistic but united Chinese state!

A massive monument from when this was a factory city.

The thousand-year-old Sheli Pagoda 舍利塔 in the city's northwest.
Its Tibetan stupa-like top must be Manchu, but the base seems older.
Behind it was an improvised collection of little shrines. My friend thought I shouldn't take a picture of it, so all I got was this quickie.

On another bright wintry day we took a turn in the country, the GPS
in Dongbei dialect directing us to picturesque but unplowed roads.
Alas our destination was closed for the season! Oh well, it'll still be there if I find my way back: it's been there 1.9 billion years already.

This grandiose gateway sits alone in a field nearby. As likely as not there will be a city of luxury condo towers here if I do return.
Shenyang, like other Chinese cities, bristles with residential towers.
And here's a place you can buy grand statuary of different styles.

Last stop in this slide show (I don't have pictures of the cityscape, and resisted the temptation to take pictures of most of the delicious meals we had) is what O proposed as a consolation prize when the meteorite proved beyond reach: a museum dedicated to the 7000-year-old "Xinle civilization" 新乐文明. Its heroic statue could be the work of the same people responsible for the inspiring Mao statue where we began.

All in all a most satisfying way of ringing in the new year!

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