Qionglai: First Post on the Southern Silk Road

Authors: Go Chengdu

2014-07-21

The city is better known to most people in China since its name is associated with a love story that happened there some 2160 years ago.
Starting from Chengdu, the Southern Silk Road went about 60 km southwest when it reached Qionglai City, the first important post along the road. The city, called Linqiong in ancient times, has a history of over 2, 300 years and is one of the first Historical and Cultural Cities in Sichuan. However, the city is better known to most people in China since its name is associated with a love story that happened there some 2160 years ago.

The love story began when Sima Xiangru, then a poor scholar but known for his literary talent, came to Qionglai to visit his friend and during his stay he was invited to a banquet hosted by Zhuo Wangsun, the richest man in the city. During the feast the scholar was carried away by Zhuo Wenjun at the first sight, who he later learned was the daughter of the host and lived in widowhood as her husband died several months ago. Then Xiangru proposed to play Guqin for people at the banquet, and everyone present was thrilled by his music and songs, including Wenjun. Several days later the poor scholar and the beautiful young lady ran away to Chengdu where they found a settlement at a place near today’s Qintai Road in the western downtown.
With no economic support from her angry father, Wenjun rented a small shop to sell wine while her husband made himself a waiter. Thus the couple lived in Chengdu for several years before Xiangru was invited by the emperor and went to Chang’an (present Xi’an, then the capital city of China) and soon became known as the best prose writer in the country.

Pingle ancient town is a popular rural attraction in Qionglai
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