This is Hangzhou

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Table of Contents

Part One History

I Looking for the Lost Empire: The “Delta of Beauty” /022

II Beauty and the Trophy: The Chinese Version of the Trojan War /046

III Sailing Through a Prosperous Millennium Aboard an Emperor’s Dragon Ship /068

IV The Tale of Two Poets / 086

V Flowers Blooming in a Troubled World /110

VI The Helplessness of a Grand Empire /128

VII Did Marco Polo Really Speak of the “City of Heaven”? /156


Part Two Landscape

I Lingyin Temple: Relocation or Reincarnation? /178

II The Ten Views of West Lake /190

III The Xixi Wetland: An Emperor’s Wisdom and Choice /220

IV Where Love Flourishes: The Long Bridge and the Broken Bridge /228

V Towers of Hope: The Three Pagodas of West Lake /238

VI Memories of the Southern Song Dynasty: Deshou Palace /254

VII Lin Bu’s “Walden” /262


Part Three Art

I Dwelling in the Fuchun Mountains: A Painting by Huang Gongwang /270

II “Watching the Snow at the Mid-Lake Pavilion”: An Essay by Zhang Dai /286

III The Palace of Eternal Life: A Play by Hong Sheng /292

IV The Cultural Asian Games: Organized by the Xiling Seal Society /298


Part Four Famous Cuisine

I Laba Congee: A Buddhist “Holy Communion” /306

II West Lake Vinegar Fish: A Bittersweet Tale /312

III Dingsheng Cake: A Cake for Victory /316

IV Pan-Fried Shallot Pancakes: A Dish Born Out of Hate /322

V Sister Song’s Fish Chowder and the Emperor’s Homesickness /326

VI Longjing Shrimp: A Taste of Spring in Hangzhou /332


Part Five Craftsmanship and Sports

I Longjing Tea /340

II The World’s First Paper Money /348

III Chu Zai and the Art of Silk Weaving /356

IV The Official Kilns of the Southern Song Dynasty /364

V Yuan Shu Paper: The Art of Bamboo Paper Making /370

VI The Invention of Moveable Type Printing: Who Got There First? /380

VII The Song Dynasty Publishing Legend Chen Qi /388

VIII Wangxingji: The Legend of a Fan /394

IX Cuju: China’s Answer to Soccer /402

X Chuiwan: When Golf Meets Croquet /410

XI Lüqiu: Chinese Mini Polo Played atop Donkeys /416


Part Six Local Heroes

I Yan Ziling, the Hermit /424

II Su Xiaoxiao: China’s “Lady of the Camellias” /430

III The Legacy of the Qian Family /440

IV SuShi and the First “Fangcang” Shelter Hospital /448

V Hu Xueyan: A Merchant, Banker, and Industrialist /454

VI The Ding Brothers Save the “Complete Library of the Four Treasuries” /462

VII Zhejiang University /470

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This is Hangzhou