Slow Cultural Life
Slow Cultural Life
Salt Tax Culture with Far-reaching Influence
For thousands of years, the salt transporting river passing through Taizhou from east to west had carried away immeasurable amount of salt, giving birth to the unique culture of the salt tax. Today, among the ancient streets and lanes of Taizhou, some streets and lanes and bridges related to “salt tax” can still be found, all bearing witness to the history. A large number of celebrities from Taizhou were related to salt tax. For examples, Zhang Shicheng from a salt producing family was a leader of the peasant revolt in late Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368). Because of the unbearable burden of salt tax, he finally raised a rebellion. Wang Gen, a famous philosopher in the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) and the founder of Taizhou school, was also ever a salt producer. When Fan Zhongyan acted as a salt official of Xixi of Taizhou in the Northern Song Dynasty (960-1127), he built a dyke for the benefit of the people… The prosperity of Taizhou brought by the salt industry only lasted to the late Qing Dynasty (1644-1912). However, the far-reaching influence of the salt industry on the culture of Taizhou still exists.
A Well-Known Education City
Confucianism was in vogue in Taizhou. Hu Yuan, a famous educator of the Northern Song Dynasty, and Wang Gen, the founder of Taizhou school were models in humanistic education in Taizhou. Hu Yuan donated his life to education. He ever served as a teacher in Taizhou, Suzhou, Huzhou and the Imperial College of the capital for 30 years or so. Many of famous ministers and scholars were his disciples. He personally established Anding Academy and planted ginkgoes there. He cultivated the learning style of “concentration, sincerity, honesty, harmony and simplicity”, making Taizhou a well-known education city. Taizhou High School, a national model high school and a key high school of Jiangsu Province, has come out in front in terms of quality of education. It might be due to the long educational tradition of the city. It is one of the one hundred famous schools in China.
Like Listening to Opera, Elegant and Leisurely
The prosperous salt industry made salt merchants become rich people and pose as lovers of culture. For a time, pursuing high-level elegant and quiet life became the mainstream culture of Taizhou. Listening to traditional Chinese opera and storytelling was an important part of the leisure culture. The tradition of “liking listening to opera” has been handed down to the present. The people of Taizhou are deeply attached to Mei Lanfang, Liu Jingting and Kong Shangren, three soul characters in the Chinese traditional opera circle. In the downtown of Taizhou, there is the Plum Garden, Willow Garden and Peach Garden in commemoration of Mei Lanfang, Liu Jingting and Kong Shangren respectively. Traditional operas can be heard there.
Veritable Cradle of Famous Monks
The long history and profound Buddhist culture have endowed Taizhou with unique propitious atmosphere. There were a large number of eminent monks in Taizhou. Now, eminent monks from Taizhou can be found all over the world, making the city a veritable cradle of famous monks. With the salt tax economy bringing unprecedented prosperity to the city, Buddhism saw tremendous development in Taizhou in the Song Dynasty. Some famous temples were built in succession. Although Buddhism in Taizhou experienced ups and downs later, the pursuit of truth, goodness and beauty and prayers for good luck and peace have been rooted in the souls of Taizhou people.
Profound and Abstruse Geomantic Omen Culture
In the propitious, leisurely and happy atmosphere of Taizhou, one will feel relaxed, pleasant and active. To get good lucks, one can go to the Taizhou Geomantic Omen Culture Museum. There, one can appreciate the profound and abstruse geomantic omen culture and build up confidence in the future smooth life.