On July 21, 37 college students from Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan arrived in the village of Yantou in Andi Town, Wucheng District, to participate in a 10-day local project from July 21-30. The schedule includes cultural activities related to local intangible heritage, cycling along the Meixi Corridor, lectures on Wuju opera, a visit to the Wuzhou Kiln, and kayak races on the Meixi River. The project aims to offer the participants a wonderful trip through Jinhua.
Yantou is located on the bank of the Meixi River and consists of a group of six natural settlements: Yantou, Lingyansi, Siqian, Jiusi, Gangshang, and Xinjianfan. Lying between the hills and the streams, the village is abundant in natural resources and rich in traditional culture. As one approaches the village, one only sees the Meixi flowing around the village. It is that murmuring water that historically injected endless vitality into this piece of land. According to the elders of the village, Yantou used to be a major traffic hub with both an arterial road and the Meixi River. The village, in addition to being a major destination for business transactions, was a place for both scholars and officials to stop and rest during their travels. Between hills and streams, Yantou now makes full use of its origins to create an authentic rural village with a unique atmosphere.
Since August 2017, Yantou has implemented a series of measures to beautify the village: transforming the façades of the traditional-style buildings, laying electricity lines, repaving the roads with traditional cobblestones, and linking a path of scenic spots and water canals. By doing so, the villages gained in livability and tourist attractiveness.
At the entrance of Yantou, there is a winding greenway with rugged stone walls on the one side and the crystal Meixi on the other. Moving forward along the greenway, there stands a rock with a curious shape. At first sight, it looks like the head of a water buffalo taking a dip in the water; after a careful look, the horn and the head as well as its nostrils can be easily distinguished.
The village Party secretary Chen Qiuping relayed a legend that narrates how, a long time ago, there was a cowboy grazing a white water buffalo every day. One day, while grazing, the buffalo suddenly jumped into the water from the hillside, leaving behind only a ripple of waves and no trace. Extremely worried about being punished by the buffalo’s owner, the cowboy decided to hide in a cavern and did not dare leave the place. At night, the buffalo appeared in his dreams and told the cowboy to stop looking for it, return to the village, and have a family. It also promised good weather for the crops in the village.
The rock we see today appeared on the spot where the buffalo jumped in, forming a buffalo-head-shaped rock that blocks the floods. Since then, this area has become a tranquil and safe place for people to live and work, and the village was subsequently named the rock (岩 yán) on top of the buffalo’s head (头 tóu).
When entering the village, grey-tiled and white-walled buildings of Hui architecture can be seen. Even the water pipes running on the walls have been integrated into the way the walls are painted, forming vivid scenery resembling an ink painting.
In order to protect the ecological waterscape, the original pond water system of Yantou is being restored according to the local topography. The wetland and four ponds in the project area are being renovated, forming the same network as the ancient river channels. There are plans to form a completely connected network of channels, beautifying the village environment and contributing to the improvement of the residents’ life. Through the establishment of an ecological system of water network, Yantou will create a protected natural environment in which the visitors will feel like they are in a painting, and will make itself famous throughout Zhejiang for being a splendid village built on the water. (Translated by Marco Lovisetto, edited by Kendra Fiddler)