Meishan : visit to Su Dongpo’s shrine
- a literary pilgrimage
We stopped in Meishan before returning to Chengdu.
This small county town is the birthplace of another great poet, Su Shi
(1036 - 1101), popularly known as Su Dongpo. This Sung Dynasty poet came
from a family of distinguished poets, painters, calligraphers and officials.
Su Shi, together with his father and brother came into prominence when
they topped the national civil service examinations, which in those days,
were based on literary creativity. All three became important officials,
but fell from power at different periods when they offended the wrong people.
In any case, they were most celebrated for their poems and calligraphy.
Meishan has turned the Su family ancestral hall into a memorial museum.
Like the Du Fu Thatched Cottage in Chengdu, poetry couplets are everywhere,
and the museum is located in a large park with willow trees and algae-infested
ponds. Not as visited by tourists as Du Fu’s, the Su family’s shrine (Sansu
Ci) is quiet and full of locals out on a picnic and tea-drinking.