Tengwang Pavilion is located on the shore of the Gan River, in Nanchang City, Jiangxi Province. Together with Yellow Crane Tower（Huanghe lou）, Yueyang Pavilion (Yueyang Lou) , are always regarded as the three most notable pavilions on south side of the Yangtze River. It also has the reputation of being the 'First Pavilion of Xijiang River' and has been widely admired by visitors from all over the world. In terms of its height, overall size and architectural style, this pavilion is a prime example of such buildings f or which China is justifiably famous.
Tengwang, literally means king Teng, which was the official name of Li Yuanying, the 22th.son of the first emperor in the Tang dynasty, He was the first one who built up this pavilion, Thus the pavilion was named after him. Wang Bo, a gifted and well known poet of the early Tang Dynasty, wrote an 'Essay on Tengwang Pavilion' This made the pavilian’s reputation far spreading. However, The pavilion was not very well preserved during the long history, It was destroyed many times due to nature fire , conflicts and wars.
The existing pavilion is a rebuilding that was built up in 1989.Which is even more spectacular and magnificent than the original one. surrounded by rock gardens ,green trees and beautiful flowers and lakes, it is built in the architectural style of the Song Dynasty (960-1279). It is in fact a complex and not just a single structure. The principle building, covering 47,000 square meters (about 12 acres), is nine storied and 57.5 meters (about 189 feet) in height. Two smaller pavilions stand on the north and south sides of the main building. Their elegance and simplicity is set off by glazed jade-green tiles on the roof, pretty eaves and red pillars. Engraved screens enhance the interiors.
This Pavilion was always a place where learned people gathered to write articles and hold banquets, therefore the display in the new pavilion gives prominence to culture. A variety of bass-relief and frescoes demonstrate that men of talent have brought glory to this place. The steles, couplets on the columns of the hall are all selections of celebrities. Musical instruments, bronze sacrifice, ritual article, serial bells impart a classical elegance to the pavilion.
Wang Bo's Tengwang Ge Xu -The Eternal Pavilion -by a foreigner in Nanchang
Preface to the Teng-Wang-Ge
This is the old county of Yuzhang, new town of Hóngdu. Its zodiac divides between Yi and Zheng, and its land connects Heng and Lu. It borders three rivers and five lakes, controlling the barbaric Chu while linking with Ou and Yue. It is the refine of substances, the treasure of God. The ancient sword found there shines its light to area between the star of Niu and Dou. There are elites in its people, since the land is blessed. Chen Fan prepared exclusive ta for Xu Ru. O, the grand Hongzhou(Nanchang) City. Its numerous buildings gather like fog. Its excellent people are as active as stars. The city lies between the military-vital place between Yi and Xia. The host and guests are all the best of the southeast of the country. The governor Mister Yan, enjoyed high fame and came here to govern this place. The mayor Mister Yuwen is the model of the moral and stayed here during his trail to his post. Today happened to be one of the ten-day holiday. Outstanding friends gather like cloud, and even noble guests come here for the gather despite the long travel. Academician Meng, the leader of literature, whose vigor of work feels like a dragon flying to the sky and colourful phoenix dancing in the air. In General Wang's arm collection, the light and the shadow of swords even seems to be purple lightning and white frost. Because my father is the governor of the County of Jiaozhi, I come to this famous place in my way to visit my father. I'm so young and ignorant but have a chance to join this ceremony by myself.
It's September now. The autumn weather feels so relaxing. The undrained water eventually turned into vapour, the water of pools is so clear. Light clouds crawls on the bright sky. A shade of purple comes into existence in the distant mountains. I drive the wagon on so high hilly roads, looking for sceneries. I came to the old-day princes' shoals and found palaces that used to shelter gods and goddesses. Hills come after hills here, and those jade green mountains even cut into the clouds. How high those skyscrapers are! Their red corridors look like to be flying in the sky, from where you even could not see the gound at all. Those small shoals resting white cranes and wild ducks, displays all their beauty of curves. And those elegant and massive palaces, even form a stylish harmony.
Pushing away a door carved with elaborate patterns, looking at brilliantly painted roofs. Those vast mountains and plains are all in my view. The curves of lakes and rivers are really amazing. The horizon is full of streets and houses and a lot of wealthy families that call family members for meals with huge bells and cook with those huge copper vessels. The ford is filled up with boats and ships, many of which are big ones decorated with patterns of cyan sparrow and yellow dragon. After raining, it's now sunny, after the rainbow faded and the clouds dispersed, the sun is shining brightly. The sunset is flying together with lonely wild goose, and the autumn water connected the sky at the horizon forming a unity. The chants spreading from the fishing boat in the dusk storm the coast of Poyang lake. The exclaiming of wild geese feeling the coldness drawing near is now still echoing by the shore of Heng yang.
Looking away, I felt relaxed from the bottom of my heart and an unconventionally graceful mood arose. Bursts of relaxing breeze was drawn by the music played with Paixiao, and flowing clouds are attracted by those soft and slow chants. Like the gathering of the Bamboo Grove Seven Sages, people here good at drinking can drink far more than Tao Yuanming, the county sheriff of Pengze. Like singing for lotus by the Ye River, the talent of poets here exceeds that of Xie Lingyun. (Music, food, literature and conversation) These four wonderful elements are all present. (Good scenery and innermost happy things) These two most desired but most difficult things are here. Just look into the deepest sky with all your power, and enjoy ourselves as well as we can in this valuable holiday. The blue sky's being high and distant, the earth's being vast and boundless, all making people feel the endless and infinite of the universe. After the joy died out, sorrow simply attacked us inevitably. I finally understood that the entire life is predestined. Looking west trying to locate Chang'an the capital, looking east to the prosperous metropolis in Wu. The land in South has reached its end, and how deep the ocean is. The Plough in the north is so far-away, and the pillar leading to the paradise is so high that no one could climb. The endless mountains are so hard to get over. Who really have a sympathy on people that could never make their dreams come true? We are here today just guests here, even not expecting to see each other in the rest of our lives. We all have our soveirgn in our hearts, but are never summoned. When can we serve the most superior.
O, we all have different fortune which are full of frustrations. Feng Tang aged before his talents recognized, victorious Li Guang was never conferred marquis. It's not the lack of wise emperors that leads to Jia Yi's being exiled. Isn't it in an era of wise politics that Liang Hong hid in the shore of Qilu? All of these are just caused by that wise people feel poverty at ease and brilliant people conform to their fate. However, though being old, we should be more ambitious; how can we change our ambitions when our hair is turning grey? Distress as we may be in, we should hold more firmly to our integrity and never abandon our lofty aspiration. Even if we drank the fountain of Greediness, we should still feel great and be incorruptible. Even if we are fish dying in a drying pool, we should still feel joyful and relaxing. The northern ocean may be very far, we can still reach there by tornado. The morning may have passed, but we can still treasure the nightfall. Mengchang Jun is famous for his elevated moral, but died embracing the dream of serving his country. Ruan Ji is uninhibited, but how can we cry cowardly at the impasse like he did.
I am just a humble young man studying everything. Though I am 21 years old as that famous general, I have no where to ask for a chance to kill the enemy. I envy Zong Yi's heroic spirit of "break the waves riding the wind", though I also have a pulse to become a soldier. Now abandoning all possible fame and fortune, I decided to serve my father in that distant place. Though I may not be a really devoted offspring, But I would like to communicate with people with moral and talents. I will soon see my father and listen to his advices. Today I'm so honoured to accompany respected gentlemen like you, reached a new height. If not encountering an introducer like Yang Yi, He has to pity himself for his passages. Once encountering Zhong Ziqi, how could be playing Liushui is a kind of shame?
Alas, those famous sites cannot be eternal, and splendid banquet may be hard to find again. The site of Lanting Banquet has been history, Shi Cong's magnificent Zize has turned into ruins. Thanks to the blessings of the banquet, I got a chance to make up this introduction at the time to farewell. As for making poetry, I can only rely that on everyone else here. I just boldly expressed my wishes, making this short introduction. As the rhythm hintings given out to everyone present, I have made a small poem. Just wish everyone else exhibit your gifts, make marvelous poems!
The Teng-Wang-Ge (Teng-Prince-Pavilion). The Chinese character Ge with more meanings, one of which is usually a 2-storeyed building in ancient China. However, the pavilion-like building of Prince Teng was a 9-storeyed magnificent one with a 12-meter-high rampart as its steady foundation. It covered 9,400 square meters, and situated near the bank of Ganjiang River. At first, it was established in 653 (the Tang-Dynasty) while Prince Teng was appointed as the first top leader or governor of Hongzhou (today's Nanchang, the capital of East China's Jiangxi Province). Prince Teng was one of the sons of the first emperor Li Yuan, the Tang Dynasty. And the original ancient building or tower had been destroyed or burnt for several times. The present one was rebuilt and patterned upon the Song Dynasty's classic style in 1989. The top roof, the flying-like eaves and all the green-glazed tiles are especially characteristic of the ancient Chinese architecture. Seen from the outside, it is a 3-storeyed pavilion with winding corridors but its inner is of a 7-storeyed structure with four secret floors, which stands on a 2-layer rampart to form a 9-layer building in all used to symbolize the 9-layer-heaven.
At the gateway hangs an inscribed board with four Chinese characters [gui-wei-jue-te] gorgeous, sublime, unique and peculiar?quoted from a classic litterateur Hanyu's (768-824) verse. The 4.5 meter-long couplets written by Chairman Mao on both of the red pillars read the rosy fading clouds and a lonely wild duck fly together, the colors of the autumn water and the vast sky mergesintosone?quoted from poet Wang Bo's Foreword to the Pavilion). Inside the pavilion, the white marble sculpture writes up the Chinese characters time and again the breeze comes to cherish the Pavilion? retelling poet Wangbo's story related to the Pavilion. From the second-floor to the sixth, there are different kinds of exhibition contents such as (a) Jiangxi-Province's remarkable Historical Figures? (including 80 famous portraits from the period of Pre-Qin to the end of the Qing Dynasty), (b) the dramatic story adapted from peony Pavilion?written by the eastern Shakespeare, Tangxianzu (1550-1616), (c) the Rich Land?(displaying not only natural landscapes or scenic spots with good views in Jiangxi but also a land being pregnant with beauty and genius), and so on. And on the fifth floor, a bird-eye view will cover the vast and hazy river, the verdant mountains, the floating clouds as well as the whole city with busy people and rushing vehicles. In the west hall of the sixth floor are displayed various replicas of China's ancient musical instruments from which visitors can enjoy different sweet and pleasant melodies.
Why do the Chinese people know the Pavilion so well? One of the most important reasons is related to the poet genius Wang Bo (650-676) who wrote a sensational poetic prose as a foreword or prologue to the Pavilion of Prince Teng.
Poet Wang Bo was once invited to an official banquet in the Pavilion while he kept his father Wang Fuzhi company to take up an official post, (a top leader or governor of Jiaozhi County in today's northern part of Vietnam). Wang Bo was excited to make an extemporaneous Pianwen [a poetic style of prose full of antithetical words or expressions, usually with a matching of both sound and sense in two lines or sentences with the same parts of speech.]
It's poet Wang Bo's literary talent that has brought glory to the Pavilion of Prince Teng.
Nowadays most people may have no opportunity to visit it, but they can recite some lines of poet Wang Bo's Foreword to the ancient pavilion. Actually, Wang Bo's writing charm with magic power has aroused the Chinese people to form a beautiful picture in mind that is an eternal power to attract them to have a look at it. And me, too. I have forgot a lot of literary works in our regular schooling textbooks, however, still not forgot reciting Wang Bo's lines. For example:
The autumn river shares a scenic hue with the vast sky;
The evening glow parallels with a lonely duck to fly.
Wang Bo's Foreword to the Teng-Prince-Pavilion has won universal praise, which is still to enjoy great popularity and be on everybody's lips.
His prose is made out of just 726 Chinese characters.
The following are much more popular lines often to be quoted by the Chinese people.
The bright produce connected with the heavenly treasure store;
The efficaciously natural land can foster the remarkable people.
Good friends arrive repeatedly as clouds float.
Distinguished guests are all present at banquet.
It is the ninth month with the full moon
As the third one of the autumn season.
The Liao River turned dry, the cool lake clear;
The sunset hilltop covered by the violet vapor.
The lofty pointed hills in dark green
Seemed to be climbing the heaven.
The flying-like pavilion in vermilion
Seemed to be a no-ground mansion.
The settling-down cranes on the islet
Were managing to linger and hover over it.
Both laurel temples and sandalwood palaces
Were arranged to situate along the hill-ridges
With the embroidered gates
And carved roofs.
The mountains and plains have eyesight widen;
Twisting creeks and rippling pools in the curious vision.
The rich homes?doors lie along every street and lane;
The bell ringing, the food in pot-tripod had well done.
Uncountable heavy boats work at the ferry often
With the bow like bird and the stern like dragon.
The clouds are vanishing away with no rain,
Under the sky shining brightly is the sun.
Fishermen are singing a song at dusk
To be spreading across the Boyang lake.
With a sudden cold the wild geese start to fly
In a long line, over the H-wetland, losing their cry.
From his above lines written in the Chinese Pianwen-style, it is not hard for us to know some information about the Prince Teng's Pavilion with its surroundings nearby. As an ancient youngest litterateur and poet, Wang Bo wrote the Foreword to the Pavilion just at age of 25. He completed the poetic prose on the double-ninth day in 675 (the ninth day of the ninth month, namely, September 9 in the Chinese lunar calendar). And a year later he died young when he was 26 years old. Although his article has been 1326 years old, still he is a young talented poet living in the Chinese people's mind.
As a saying goes, the writing mirrors the writer.That's true. Within 726 Chinese characters or words of his writing, not only could we know the beautiful landscape in vivid detail, but also we might learn something about his great ambitions that never had come true in his ancient times. On one hand we all envy his great talent, on the other hand we all show great sympathy to his unfortunate fate with some bitter sufferings. In addition to describing some good views around the Pavilion, also he was excited to talk his own mind and take a series of historical events with some talented persons as examples. None of them had had any good opportunity to be a key person playing an important role in China's history. One was a knight named Feng Tang serving in the army during the period of Hanwudi (Emperor Liu Che (156BC-87BC)). He had been in a lower position for a very long time. When the Emperor wanted to find a military man to be appointed as a higher officer in the court, Feng Tang was recommended as a candidate who was 90 years old. Another was Li Guang who had not appointed to be a marquis despite his great warring contribution in plenty. And still another was Jia YI appointed just as a tutor teaching the prince in Changsha though he was a great litterateur contributing a great deal to the Han Dynasty. Wang Bo mentioned one after another historically well known persons being so versatile and gifted in many ways that they might threaten those who were commonplace but toadying to the emperor or other higher officials. As for his own experience, he complained about no opportunity to join the military army as a brave fighter as Zhong Jun (a famous learned person in the Han Dynasty) being ordered to capture a king of the enemy in history though they were both at age of 20. However, he had never stopped to seek for carrying out his great ambition with his strong will until he passed away abruptly.
Why do Chinese people love Wang Bo so much that his legend has been still told all over China. From the Yellow Crane Tower, we know a legend that the yellow crane was carrying a fairy whose name was Wang Zian. As everybody knows, Wang Zian is not the other but Wang Bo. Originally Wang Bo styled himself Wang Zian. The legend tells us our great poetic genius, Wang Bo has never been separated from the Chinese common people all over China. When he was young, he had been extremely rich in the Chinese historical events and stories as well as other fields of knowledge. He had a good command of all kinds of information in his own times. Therefore he could write such an article that would last forever. We have every reason to be proud of him and it is he that has brought great glory to the Chinese culture both in prose and poetry.