Travel with Tracy: Getting to Know China's Greatest Poet, Du Fu

From BBC documentary film - Dufu: China's Greatest Poet, Du Fu’s poems “embody not only the feelings but the moral sensibility of a whole civilization”. I was attracted by this point of view, and I decided to explore one of his stops in his wandering life- Du Fu Thatched Cottage in Chengdu.

In 759 during the An Lushan rebellion, Du Fu came to Chengdu as a refugee. With the help of an old friend, he could stay in a heavenly plot and built himself a thatched cottage. Almost four years, he lived here and composed many poems. 

When he left Chengdu, the thatched cottage was abandoned in ruin. However, it later has been rediscovered and renovated by another poet - Wei Zhuang for remembering Dufu. Next dynasties, the thatched cottage was continuing destroyed and restored, and finally became the Du Fu Thatched Cottage, the most famous place of literary pilgrimage today.

Du Fu thatched cottage museum has been divided into three functional areas: cultural relics scenic area (formerly thatched cottage), garden scenic area (mei yuan), and service area (cao tang temple). The formally thatched cottage is the core part and main attractions are arranged on the central axis, along with outbuildings on both sides. 

The day, I wandered in Du Fu thatched cottage to experience its quietness, to enjoy simple and natural away from busy urban life, and to imagine what kind of person Du Fu is...

Du Fu Thatched Cottage

"Thatched Cottage" in Chinese

Ever since I got in from the south gate, the fresh and green scenery came over me. I could not help taking a deep breath and wanted to keep this moment in mind forever.

People scattered in the peaceful scene, chatting, giggling, and playing chess… I find a place to sit and to immerse myself in.

Du Fu Thatched Cottage

Peaceful Scene in Du Fu Thatched Cottage Park

Getting inside, I met the thatched cottage, not a long walk. Actually, it matched my imagination but still impressed when I saw it. Du Fu wrote many poems for ordinary people, worried about them, and spoke for them. However, just like everyone enjoying simple nature and being joyful with daily life, the miserable fate of ordinary people at that time was relieved from Dufu’s mind temporarily. 

Du Fu Thatched Cottage

Thatched Cottage

Opposite the thatched cottage is a pavilion, people sit here and enjoy… In the center of the pavilion is a poem carved on the stele, describing delightful scenery here by Dufu:

Happy Rain on a Spring
Good rain knows its time right;
It will fall when comes spring;
With wind it steals in night;
Mute, it moistens each thing.
O’er wild lanes dark cloud spreads;
In boat a lantern looms.
Dawn sees saturated reds;
The town’s heavy with blooms.

This is an English version translated by Xu YuanChong. This poem shows me a vivid picture and I can feel the same cheerful as Du Fu did when he saw the scenery with his own eyes.

Du Fu Thatched Cottage

Beautiful Pavilion

Keeping on exploring, I got a chance to experience the charm of more poems and calligraphy through Thousand Poems Stele & Du Fu Poems’ Calligraphy Woodcut Gallery.

Du Fu Thatched Cottage

Poems' Gallery of Dufu

Different from any area in the Thatched Cottage, the red wall is conspicuous. Now, this wall is a hot spot for taking pictures and you will get a nice photo.

Du Fu Thatched Cottage

Red Walls and Traditional Round Doorframe

What does Du Fu look like? Each dynasty has its own imagination, and here is one turned into a statue. 

Du Fu Thatched Cottage

Statue of Dufu

Till now, I stayed inside for about 2 hours. Time to leave and I got out from the North Gate. 

Du Fu Thatched Cottage

North Gate of Du Fu Thatched Cottage

To reach a conclusion, this is a valuable trip for me to know more about Dufu. If you are also curious about China’s greatest poet Dufu, just come and have your own exploration!

Travel with Me

Hi, I'm Tracy. Are you interested in my Du Fu Thatched Cottage Tour? Feel free to contact me, and I will be glad to tell you more stunning stories about the places I have visited. Or, if you want to customize a tour on your own, I'm always ready to help at any time. With my passion, knowledge and understanding of the essence of travel, I promise I will try my best to make the tour memorable and meaningful for you.

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