ARTIST RESIDENCY CHINA — SHANGHAI, no. 45
The area within the original city wall of Shanghai remained exclusively Chinese during the period of foreign concessions that followed the defeat of the Qing dynasty by the British Empire in 1839. Unfortunately most of the old city has been replaced by a new city that pretends to be old — in a completely artificial way. It is a commercial development designed to accommodate hordes of tourists. Beyond the new section of the old city, there are a few side streets that retain authentic vestiges of an earlier era.
On my last day in Shanghai, Jaiyi pulled the short straw again: Wang assigned her to be my escort on a rainy Monday in June. After viewing the Shanghai Museum collections, we took the subway to what’s left of the old city.
the new old city Shanghai
another exquisite lunch of Shanghai cuisine, upstairs through a corner door
dumplings are regional specialties
One of the jewels within the old city is Yuyuan, a labyrinthian garden begun in 1577. It survives somewhat tattered from successive insensitive occupations, ruin, and rebuilding. It contains narrow passage ways, bridges, ponds, and thirty pavilions on five acres. I was pleased to see the appearance of “our” Shanghai Tower over a wall. However, despite being four miles away and across the river, the borrowed view destroys the contemplative bubble the garden offers. Modern life and too many visitors intrude on all sides.
once inside, the verdant design is a world away from downtown Shanghai
dragon wall capstone
gnarled wood furniture in intimate pavilions
scholar’s stone in a pavilion
protective power of crazy stone lions
borrowed view of the Shanghai Tower four miles away across the river to the east
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