Poyang Lake — History, Folklore, Devil Triangle, and Paradise of Birds

Poyang Lake of Jiangxi Province, Photo by Liao Hao.

What is Poyang Lake?


Poyang Lake, also named Pengli or Pengze, is an area with invaluable ruins, important historic events, legendary folklores, mysterious Devil Triangle, and picturesque scenes.  

Besides, it is one of the biggest bird reserves in the world, and the largest freshwater lake in China.


Birds of Poyang Lake, Photo from Official Site of Poyanghu National Wetland Park.

What is the most famous folklore of Poyang Lake?


Once upon a time, a young fisherman found a shining pearl in the Poyang Lake and took it along.

On his way home, a girl showed up and told him that she lost her precious pearl. So this young man gave her the pearl that he found.

Sometime later, this young man encountered a huge windstorm on the lake, then a fairy in a green dress with a glorious pearl appeared and guided him escaped safely.

This young man and the beautiful fairy fell in love and got married afterward. 


Nature Reserve of Poyang Lake, Photo from Official Site of Poyanghu National Wetland Park.

However, an evil cast his greedy eyes on the beautiful fairy and tried everything to sabotage her happy marriage.

What's worse, she was found out to have married a human being, which was considered taboo by her master, who took her back to heaven soon.

On her way back to heaven, she saw that devil was trying to attack her beloved husband; so she threw one of her shoes toward the devil and buried him under the water, which then turned into a mountain next to Poyang Lake. 

Shoe-Shaped Island, Xieshan, of Poyang Lake, Photo by Zhu Xingyong.

What is the Devil’s Triangle of Poyang Lake?


The folklore of the Poyang Lake might be hearsay, however, the big windstorm that young fisherman had encountered was possibly for real.

Near Laoye Temple, a place to worship King of Dragon, is the area named Devil's Triangle of Poyang Lake.


In history, many unusual phenomena happened and had memorized by locals, including appearing of monsters in the lake, sudden darkness in the daytime, and special shining lights, etc. 


Most importantly, many ships had mysteriously disappeared in this area, and no one knows what caused those accidents, nor what exactly happened to those vanished boats and people inside.


Night View of Poyang Lake, Photo from Official Site of Poyanghu National Wetland Park.

What are important histories that happened in Poyang Lake?


Poyang Lake Battle

It was the largest scale water battle in the Medieval era, which played an essential role in establishing the Ming Dynasty (1368 — 1644). 


In the year 1363 (30th of August — 4th of October), Zhu Yuanzhang led 200,000 warriors to defeat his rival’s 650,000 soldiers in Poyang Lake.


After this decisive triumph, Zhu Yuanzhang perished one of his biggest enemies, and established the Ming Dynasty 5 years later.  


Part of Painting "Prosperous City Nanjing of the Ming Dynasty"  (Nan Du Fan Hui Tu), By Artist Qiu Ying (1497 — 1552) — National Museum of China

The Rebellion of Prince Ning


In 1519, Zhu Chenhao, respected as Prince Ning, had rebelled and initiated a war trying to snatch the throne. 


About a month later, Wang Yangming defeated his troop through a decisive, final battle in the Poyang Lake, and brought peace to civilians there.

Stele to Memorize this War on Poyang Lake Written by Wang Yangming, Photo by Zhang Zhugang.

Important Data of Poyang Lake.


  • Poyang Lake is in Jiangxi Province, southeast of China;


  • It is the largest freshwater lake and the second largest lake in China;


  • It is about 3150 to 4400 square kilometers, based on seasonal differences in water levels;


  • The average depth of Poyang Lake is about 14 to 15 meters;


  • There are 41 islands in the Poyang Lake, with over 103 square kilometers' area; 


  • Over 150 types of bird habitat in Poyang Lake Nature Reserve, many of them are rare species in the world, such as white-naped crane, hooded crane, common crane, white stork, black stork, spoonbill, whistling swan, etc.


Cranes on Poyang Lake, Photo by Hu Yeqing.

What are the important cultural sites and natural scenic views of Poyang Lake?



Pavilion of Prince Teng or Tengwang Ge


Firstly constructed in 653 by Prince Teng, younger brother of Emperor Taizong of Tang, later great poet Wang Bo (about 650 — 676) wrote a famous article "Tengwang Ge Xu" to record and eulogize the stunningly beautiful views there. 


The building had been rebuilt several times in history, however, the beautifulness and importance of this Pavilion and article had never changed.


Main Building of Pavilion of Prince Teng or Tengwang Ge.

Mount Lu

Mount Lu, or Lushan National Park Locating next to Poyang Lake, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, for the beautiful natural sceneries, and being one of the most influential centers of education and religion in history. 

Hanpo Pass or Hanpo Kou of Mount Lu Facing the Poyang Lake, Photo by Dashenlin Taishan.

Suojiang Tower


Suojiang Tower, also named Suojianglou, belonged to a building complex constructed in 1585, to suppress and block Dragon Jiaolong living in the lake that caused huge floods in this area. 


Centuries of wind, rain, flood, earthquakes, and wars took down other buildings, but the Suojiang Tower is still standing still and guarding on the Poyang Lake.

Suojiang Tower Next to Poyang Lake, Photo by Shejiang.

Tomb of the Marquis of Haihun


Tomb of Haihunhou or Marquis of Haihun in Nanchang city of Jiangxi Province, is believed mausoleum of Liu He (? — 59 BC).


Liu He, the grandson of Emperor Wu of Han, had worn the crown for 27 days and got abolished by powerful regent Huo Guang. 


Afterward, the new Emperor Xuan of Han conferred Liu He as the Marquis of Haihun. 


Because of the changing area of Poyang Lake, the tomb had been drowned by water for a long time, which instead preserved it well. 


Today, the Tomb of Marquis of Haihun is the biggest and best-preserved royal mausoleum of the Han Dynasty (202 BC — 220 AD), which is over 40,000 square meters' large and has over 10,000 invaluable relics unearthed.

Horse hoof Shaped Golds Unearthed from Tomb of the Marquis of Haihun — Jiangxi Museum (Photo by Dongmaiying)

Wucheng Town


Wucheng is an ancient town next to Poyang Lake, with significant military importance.


Many generals had trained armies and fought intense wars there.

Yanshui Ting, Believed as the Place that General Zhou Yu (175 — 210) to Command His Armies.

Luoxingdun or Dexing Shan


Luoxingdun island in Poyang Lake is believed the incarnation of a meteorite, which only shows up when the water level drops.


On this island are some ancient buildings that were first constructed during the Five Dynasties (907 — 960).

Luoxingdun of Poyang Lake, Photo by Rao Jinxing.

Stone Arch Bridge of Ming Dynasty

When the Poyang Lake entered the Dry Season (the water level lower than 10.5 meters), a 2657-meter long ancient bridge (built in the year 1631) would show up.

Stone Arch Bridge of Ming Dynasty on Poyang Lake, Photo by Zhu Xingyong.

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