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Hukou / Boyang Lake
Stone Bell Hill Temple: this is where the water of the Yangtze River mix with the waters of
Boyang lake that used to be less silted and noticeably less brown. Today with all the sand
and gravel dredging near Nanchang, the opposite is true.
Stone Bell Hill Buddhist Temple
Hukou waterfront with Stone Bell Hill in Background
Shou Gou Shan(Big Orphan)
In the middle of the Yangtze River near Pengze, is Shou Gou Shan, a almost vertical piece of tall Rock,
with a Buddhist Temple. There hardly being any natural level places to build, most of the temple
sanctuaries are built on top of one another. There are stairways zig-zagging up to balconies before the
sanctuary door ways with incense burners having smoldering sticks releasing pungent aromas as the
smoke trails wafe into the sky.There is still one temple room that has model boats decorating its walls,
these present boats are replacements as the originals were destroyed during the Cultural Revolution.
With the completion of the Three Gorges Dam regulating the water flow below it, the northern part of
the island has now been integrated as part of the north bank of the river, greatly increasing the farm
land being utilized today. So, the once secluded island of monks has much more contact with local and
visitor alike than before. Multiple stairways intertwine, around the island to its top, where monks
meditate or practice Thi"Chi as the river traffic below sets off fireworks as they pass the island. I was
told, these noises are to ward off evil spirits that lurk in the waters that might try to capsize the boat as
it passes by.
Boyang Lake is the overflow from the Gan River which meanders from south to north, the length of
Jiangxi Province. It connects with the Yangtze River by the city of Hukou. As the waters mix below
Stone Bell Buddhist Temple, today the water of Boyang Lake is much darker than the Yangtze, for the
constant dredging of shipping lanes to Nanchang. Where endless empty barges go to be filled with sand
and return to Nanjing, and Shanghai to be mixed with concrete to build the skyscrapers standing today.
At its northern section of the lake is an island called Little Shoe Hill (Big Orphan). It has a Buddhist
Temple on it and during the month that Edgerton and his second wife Caroline spent their honeymoon
plying its waters, they stopped to visit it. One monk who had lived more than forty years on the island,
said she was the first woman to have ever set foot on the island in his lifetime.
My ride out to the Little Shoe was with a fisherman and his wife. My friend Edi had negotiated 80RMB
for three hours, one hour each way, and an hour walking the island. The engine was a single cylinder,
with no exhaust manifold, and the noise was deafening. Why they didn't extend the pipe into the water
to muffle the noise, I can't understand. The island has many walkways that will lead you to the small
Buddhist temple. Then more paths will take you to the pagoda near the highest point on the island.
There was a rock formation just across from Little Shoe Island (Big Orphan) on the north bank that
looked like a toad. It is unfortunate that it was blasted apart in the early part of 1900, because a local
thought it was a bad omen.
At times when there is drought, and the lake recedes, it is possible to walk to Little Shoe Island. This
illustrates how shallow most of Boyang Lake is. When I was in China in 2000, a bridge span was being
constructed over Boyang Lake's outlet near Hokou, and you had to take a ferry to cross it. Currently
they are working on a second bridge that will link the rail line of Jingdezhen to Jiujiang. As you cross
over the lake, there is a constant dredge machine filling barges with sediment to keep the ship channel
On the South side of the lake are vast dunes of white sand. This has been used for thousands of years to
make porcelain, as the city of Jingdezhen, (Ching Tek Cheng) is nearby. This is where the "Emperor
Cup" that was given to Herbert and Betty came from, and the other pieces in C.M.H. collection.
Just West of the dunes is a bird reserve for wintering Siberian Cranes. In the Autumn days of October,
the skies are filled with flocks of migrating birds, heading to Boyang Lake.
Chinese drop nets for catching whole schools of fish at one time Junk crossing in front
of Big Orphan Island
French Steamer passing by Big Orphan Island Profile view looking
Shou Gou Shan March, 2009
Boyang Lake was known to dry up to the point of where it was possible to walk across from the former
bank to Xie Xue, as the photo below
Xie Shan Little Orphan Island
A brief version of the legend about the story of how both the Big and Little Orphan Island's came into
their places is; after the death of an official, living in Nanking who longed to be buried in his native
Kiangsi. His trusted servant turned himself into a turtle and had the two beautiful daughters ride on his
back home along the path that today is the Yangtze River. As he headed upriver one maiden grew tired
and slipped off his back and the spirits turned her into the Big Orphan. After entering Boyang Lake the
other daughter fell off the turtle's back to become the Little Orphan Island today. When the turtle
arrived near the officials home on the west side of the lake he took a rest and turned into the Turtle
Rock formation that superstitious Chinese blew up in the early 1900's. Thinking it was a bad omen for
the lake to occasionally dry up in times of drought.
I've also heard the story as an enchanting maiden whom was walking the river path and lost one shoe
along it and the other in the lake.
Turtle Rock / Boyang Lake: this rock
formation was blown up by superstitious
native Chinese around 1910.