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Ancient Villages in the Picturesque Chinese Painting

World Cultural Heritage Villages
 
Hongcun (Chinese: 宏村; pinyin: Hóngcūn) is a village in Yi County county, Anhui Province, People's Republic of China, near the southwest slope of Mount Huangshan.
The village is arranged in the shape of an ox with the nearby hill (Leigang Hill) interpreted as the head, and two trees standing on it as the horns. Four bridges across the Jiyin stream can be seen as the legs whilst the houses of the village form the body. Inside the “body”, the Jiyin stream represents the intestines and various lakes such as the “South Lake” (Nanhu) form the other internal organs.
 
 
Hongcun's central clearing
The architecture and carvings of the approximately 150 residences dating back to the Ming and Qing Dynasties are said to be among the best of their kind in China.[citation needed] One of the biggest of the residences open to visitors, Chenzhi Hall, also contains a small museum.
Together with Xidi, the village became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2000. Scenes from the film Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon were filmed on location in Hongcun, leading to a dramatic increase in tourism.
 
The three carving styles including those on stones, bricks and wood are the most renowned. Tourists can appreciate these exquisite carvings on door frames, lattice walls, columns and beams in the halls. The birds, flowers, grass and figures on them are vividly presented. Both the Ming and Qing Dynasty carvings display poise and refinement.
Encircled by green hills, two streams flow through the village from north and east converging at Huiyuan Bridge. The village has two main streets and about 99 lanes. All the streets and lanes are paved with cobbles or black stones. The residences, lanes and streets combine well with the hills and streams.
Lying about 10 kilometers (6 miles) northeast of Yixian County, Hongcun Village enjoys the reputation of 'a village in the beautiful Chinese picture' because of its location at high altitude and being shrouded by clouds and mist. It has about 137 Ming and Qing style residences.