Taihu Lake — Wuyue Culture in Picturesque Landscape

Taihu Lake in Jiangsu Province, Photo from Official Site of Lake Tai of Wuxi.

Tai Lake in Jiangsu Province, Photo from Official Site of Lake Tai of Wuxi.

What is Taihu Lake?

 

Taihu Lake, or Lake Tai, is a huge, ancient Freshwater lake in the east of China, where originated the Wuyue Culture. 

 

Besides beautiful natural views, legends, folklores, cities, and their cultures scattering along Taihu are attractive. 

 
Wuyue cultural style bridge on Taihu Lake, Photo from The Official Site of Lake Tai of Wuxi.

Wuyue cultural style bridge on Lake Tai, Photo from The Official Site of Lake Tai of Wuxi.

How Was Taihu Lake Formed?

 

Taihu Lake used to be much bigger in history and has many speculations regarding its formation: meteorite strike, volcano eruption, crustal movement, lagoon or congestion of rivers, and so on. 

 
Ritual Jade Cong of Liangzhu Culture (about 3300 — BC 2000 BC) that Originate in Taihu Lake Area

Ritual Jade Cong of Liangzhu Culture (about 3300 — BC 2000 BC) that Originate in Tai Lake Area — Shanghai Museum (Photo by Dongmaiying)

According to an ancient legend, Lake Tai is the incarnation of a fabulous silver basin in heaven, decorated with 72 emerald beads, which accidentally fell onto earth. 

The silver basin turned into Taihu Lake when the 72 emerald beads turned into 72 peaks scattering in this area. 

Beautiful Natural View of Taihu Lake, Photo from The Official Site of Lake Tai of Wuxi.

Beautiful Natural View and Boats, Photo from The Official Site of Lake Tai of Wuxi.

Why It Is Named Tai?

 

Wu Tai, also respected as Taibo, was a prince of a state named Zhou, who realized that his younger brother was more talented and qualified to inherit the throne. 

 

Hence, Wu Tai left their state, give up the throne, and migrated far away, to show his determination of supporting his brother in reigning their state.  

 

Soon, the son (Ji Chang) and grandson (Ji Fa) of his younger brother further flourished the state and established the Zhou Dynasty (1046 BC — 256 BC).

 
Bronze Water Container (Qiang Pan) with 284 Characters Carved Inside, Recorded History of First Seven Kings of the Zhou Dynasty

Unearthed Bronze Ritual Water Container (Qiang Pan) with 284 Characters Carved Inside, Recorded History of First Seven Kings of the Zhou Dynasty — Baoji Museum

Wu Tai brought new technology to and worked hard in the new place he migrated. Gradually, he earned more locals' respect and trust and established a new state named Wu. 

 

To honor his contribution to this area, people named the lake after his name, Lake Tai, or Taihu Lake. 

What Is Wuyue Culture?

 

Wuyue Culture is a regional culture of the Taihu Lake area, mainly in today's Zhejiang, Jiangsu, and Jiangxi provinces, where Wu Tai established the State Wu.

 

Later in Spring and Autumn Period (770 BC — 403 BC), this area appeared two powerful kingdoms, Wu and Yue. 

 

State Wu was a prosperous kingdom that Sun Tzu, writer of the Art of War, had served, which was conquered by State Yue in 473 BC. 

 
Unearthed Sword of Gou Jian the King of Yue

Sword of Gou Jian the King of Yue that Perished the State Wu in 473 BC — Hubei Museum

After State Yue complied with Qin (221 BC — 207 BC) and Han (202 BC — 220 AD) dynasties, the Wu and Yue cultures of the Taihu Lake area became one of the most important regional cultures. 

 

Today, Wuyue Culture includes local dialects, music, Zhe Cuisine, Jiangnan architectural style, and so on. 

Jiangnan Style Dwellings, Photo from Official Site of Tongli Ancient Town of Taihu Lake.

Jiangnan Style Dwellings, Photo from Official Site of Tongli Ancient Town of Taihu.

What Is the Most Famous Folklore of Taihu Lake?

 

When the King of State Yue was planning to revenge, a scholar and politician named Fan Li had been assisting the king. 

 

Meanwhile, he trained a beautiful woman named Xi Shi, one of the Four Beauties in Chinese history, and sent her to the King of State Wu as a honey trap.

 

After the State Wu was perished by the King of Yue in 473 BC, Fan Li resigned and took Xi Shi away. 

 

They lived near the Taihu area in seclusion and frequency boating there. 

 
Natural View of Taihu Lake, Photo from The Official Site of Lake Tai of Wuxi.

Natural View of Taihu, Photo from The Official Site of Lake Tai of Wuxi.

Important Data

 

  • It is located in Jiangsu and Zhejiang Provinces;

 

  • It is 2445 square kilometers large today, with an average depth of 1.9 meters;

 

  • Over 50 islands and 72 hills are scattered in and around the lake;

 

  • There are over 107 types of fish;

 

  • About 13 large scenic spots in Taihu Lake Scenic Area. 

 
Birds on Taihu Lake

Birds on Taihu Lake, Photo from Official Site of Yushan of Changshu City.

Cultural Sites of the Taihu Lake Scenic Area

 

Temple and Tomb of Taibo

Firstly built in the year 154 to commemorate Wu Tai,  and had been rebuilt and renovated several times in history. 

 
Ancient Stone Tablet in Tomb and Temple of Taibo

Ancient Stone Tablet in Tomb and Temple of Taibo

Wuxi City

Wuxi is a historic city in Jiangsu Province where prince Wu Tai established his new state in the late Shang Dynasty (1600 BC — 1046 BC).  

Hence, the Temple and Tomb of Taibo locate there. 

Today, Wuxi developed into a big city with over 6 million population, valuable cultural attractions, and beautiful natural views of the lake. 

Yuantouzhu Scenic Area in Wuxi City, Photo from Official Site of Lake Tai of Wuxi.

Yuantouzhu Scenic Area in Wuxi City, Photo from Official Site of Lake Tai of Wuxi.

Suzhou City

Suzhou is the original place of Wu Culture, an important city of the ancient State Wu.

 

Today, Suzhou is a beautiful city with over 10 million population and many invaluable relics, including the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage the Classical Gardens of Suzhou.

Humble Administrator Garden in Suzhou, Built in the Early 16th Century

Humble Administrator Garden in Suzhou, Built in the Early 16th Century, Photo by Moxiu.

Tongli Ancient Town

Tongli is an ancient town of Suzhou City along the lake.

It is an excellent example of the small town of Wuyue Culture, with historic buildings surrounded by beautiful rivers.

Historic Buildings in Tongli Ancient Town, Photo from The Official Site of Lake Tai.

Historic Buildings in Tongli Ancient Town, Photo from The Official Site of Lake Tai.

Yushan Area in Changshu City

Yushan in Changshu City is a beautiful scenic area with ancient temples, historic relics, Wuyue style buildings, scattering in picturesque mountains and lakes.

Beautiful View of Yushan Area, Photo from Official Site of Changshu City.

Beautiful View of Yushan Area, Photo from Official Site of Changshu City.

Yangxian Area in Yixing City

Yixing is a historic city that is famous for pottery art, mysterious limestone caves, rich plants, and natural beauties. 

Dongpoge in Yangxian Area, Photo from Official Site of Yixing City.

Dongpoge in Yangxian Area, Photo from Official Site of Yixing City.