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Dongpo Academy Guide

-Travel to Dongpo Academy

Located in Zhonghe Town of Danzhou City and about 40 kilometers away form Nada Town, 180 kilometers from Haikou city, Dongpo Academy is another historic cultural relic built by the local people for commemorating Su Dongpo, a literary giant in July 1317 of Northern Song dynasty.  Su Dongpo was banished to Danzhou in the northwest of Hainan in his late years. Being accompanied by his youngest son, Su Dongpo stayed here in exile for three years.  Actually when Su Dongpo was here, he made good friends with the local people, and even worked in the field with them. Besides, he did many good things for them, importantly he initiated the spirit of learning, spread the culture of the central plains, gave lectures to the local folks. Finally he won respect and love from the local people. Afterwards people gave many places names related to his activities, such as Dongpo Village. Dongpo Field, Dongpo Well, Dongpo Pine, Dongpo Park, and Dongpo Resting Stone, even Dongpo Dialect, or the pronunciations to read books, or the dialect spoken by the scholars.

Dongpo Academy used to be where Su Dongpo lived and gave lectures during his exile time. It was rebuilt in Ming dynasty. And as a cultural relic of ancient time, it is now under the State protection. Dongpo Academy is a series of ancient architectural constructions made up of Zaijiu Kiosk, Zaijiu Hall, Study, Exhibition Rooms and some others. The courtyards are full of tall trees planted in ancient times. This ancient building has a big entrance door and consists of a pavilion, a main room, a hall and shrine. As a local institution of higher learning in ancient times, the academy had trained quite a number of people into the outstanding talents.  After the entrance gate that with four Chinese characters written by a Qing Calligrapher on the top, expressing the Dongpo’s Academy, comes the stone bridge, and the courtyard of Su Dongpo standing in the colorful flowers. And the first besides the Zaijiu Kiosk in the center will be the first building, Zaijiu Hall.  In the Zaijiu Hall, most of the historical documents related to the famous scholar are exhibited.

After Su Dongpo left Hainan in 1100, a Su’s temple was built in 1317 of Yuan Dynasty on the site of the original Areca Hut where Su once lived. Nine years later, in 1326, a military officer rebuilt and enlarged the scale of the temple and changed the name into the present one, Zaijiu Hall. The latest construction was made by the local government in 1981, and more building were added. Now there are 3 couplets and 13 stone steles in the hall, which recorded not only the ancient poems and essays but also modem ones, showing all the respects and admiration to this great man. In the exhibition today, the most peculiar one is the marble stele on the wall of the right corner, which was carved, based on a painting of “Dongpo in a Bamboo Hat and Wooden Clogs” by Tang Bohu, the renowned Chinese painter in the Ming dynasty. In the sculpture, Su Dongpo looks very much like a Danzhou native of Hainan. Another three modern steles on the left were written by famous scholars Guo Moruo, Tian Han and Deng Tuo when they visited here in 1960s.  The Main Hall of the academy in located behind the Zaijiu Hall, in the center of this hall, there are a group of statues, include the statues of Su Dongpo, his youngest son and his close friend Li Ziyun to imitate a lecture, and vividly describe a patient and instructive image of Su Dongpo. On both sides of the hall, monographs on Su Dongpo by scholars ffrom home as well as abroad are exhibited.  What we should owe mostly to Su Dongpo is his great efforts to promote and spread the culture of the central China, educating a large number of talents for Hainan, which opened a new era in the cultural history of Hainan, and left a great influence on its offspring. 

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