Travelogues

Tour of Chaozhou Part 3 Guangji Bridge 潮州遊記 3/3 廣濟橋

In the final part of the my three part story about my root searching trip to Chaozhou, we visit Guangji Bridge, the bridge that witnessed the rise and fall of Chouzhou for almost a thousand years.

到潮不到橋,枉向潮州走一遭

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到潮不到橋,枉向潮州走一遭

There is an old saying, “到潮不到橋,枉向潮州走一遭”, that means if you go to Chaozhou without visiting the Guangji Bridge, you cannot say that you have been to Chaozhou.

Guangji Bridge in Chaozhou, along with Zhaozhou Bridge in Hebei Province, Luoyang Bridge in Fujian Province and Lugou Bridge in Beijing, are considered the four most famous bridges in ancient China.

在廣東潮州市,有一座湘子橋,與趙州橋、洛陽橋和蘆溝橋並稱中國四大古橋。

On one side of the bridge is a stone tablet inscribed with four Chinese characters that read: Flood Stops Here. Legend says that the inscription was written by Han Xiangzi, one of the Eight Immortals. Therefore, the bridge also has another name, Xiangzi Bridge 湘子橋.

歷史的洗禮 Tides of History

The Beginning : Southern Song 始於宋、盛於明

The construction of the bridge began in 1170 in the Southern Song Dynasty (1127-1279) and lasted 57 years. With a length of 520 meters, the bridge has 18 piers in the east and west sections, and the middle section of the bridge runs 100 meters long. More piers were built in 1435 during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). In 1638, it caught fire and all the bridge’s pavilions were burnt down.

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The bridge photographed in 1869 by John Thompson. Credit: Wellcome Library, London. Wellcome Images

廣濟橋始建於南宋乾道七年(1171年),最初叫康濟橋,是一座由江心單個石墩和兩側共86艘木船組成的浮橋。南宋時,浮橋落成僅用了90天。此後57年間,經過十任州官和廣大潮汕民眾的努力續建,橋墩增至21個,以巨木和巨石架於其上,東側名濟川橋,西側名丁公橋,中間以浮橋相連接。明朝時,大橋經過全面大修,在明朝嘉靖九年(公元1530年)形成現有的「十八梭船廿四洲」的格局。自創設以來,共歷時359年。但是接下來400年,多次因戰火被毀後復修,最後到解放前已殘破不堪。橋墩已減少為二十座,十九孔,全橋長:517.95米,計東岸橋墩十二座加橋台一座,十二孔,長283.4米,西岸橋墩八座七孔,長173.3米,橋寬5米,中間97.3米,仍以十八木船連接。

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Two rectangular pavilions

There are various pavilions on the bridge, so there is a popular saying, “twenty-four pavilions have twenty-four styles”. The pavilions housed businesses and business was prosperous, so people said, “There’s a mile of business for every mile of bridge.”. An English photographer, John Thompson took a photo of the prosperity and commented that it was similar to the old London Bridge where paddlers did a roaring trade on it.

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唐代石梁 Beam from Tang dynasty

湘橋曾經是一條十分繁榮的商業街,有過「一里長橋一里市」的美譽。清朝時,有一位英國人約翰·湯姆森為廣濟橋拍攝了一張全景照片,錄下了「一個橋洲一畫亭」的美景,並在說明中指出:「潮州湘橋也許是中國一座最值得一提的橋梁。它和倫敦老橋一樣,它們都為城市提供了一個可供居民做生意的地方。」

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1939年的湘子橋 Bridge in 1939

Layers of granites joined together with rivets and tenons form 24 large and small piers. The piers are precious relics of Chinese architecture. The middle section of the bridge was rebuilt to be supported by 18 shuttle boats that allowed the structure to open and close. It is the first big stone bridge in China to be equipped with such a feature.

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Pontoon 浮橋

1958年以前,它是一座集拱橋、梁橋、浮橋於一身的啓閉式石橋,有一首著名的潮州民謠這樣說道:‘潮州湘橋好風流,十八梭船廿四洲;廿四樓台廿四樣,二隻生牛一隻溜。’」

Modern Times 現代建設

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The iron bridge circa 1980s (Screen capture from Chaozhou TV)

In 1958, the shuttle boats were dismantled due to traffic needs and a straight bridge was rebuilt in its place. The iron ox you see in the photo was a replacement. Two iron oxen were placed on both ends of the pontoon bridge in 1723, which are now lost. One was lost due to flooding in 1842. Hence the saying, “One of the oxen ran away.” The other was melted down for “The Great Leap Forward” during the Cultural Revolution. A new iron ox was mounted on the bridge in 1980 to replace the melted oxen.

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鉎牛 Iron Ox

1958年進行加固維修,並拆除了十八梭船,改建為三孔鋼架及兩處高樁承台式橋梁。照片中你看到的銼牛不是原來的銼牛。雍正二年(1724年),知府張自謙修廣濟橋,並鑄造牲牛二隻,分置西橋第八墩和東橋第十二墩,意在「鎮橋御水」。道光二十二年門(1842年)洪水,東墩鐵牛墜入江中。所以才有兒歌怎麼唱著:「兩只銼牛一隻溜。」 文革時期,另外一隻也因為「大躍進」而被溶掉了。到了1980年才被從新鑄了一隻。

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Modern day GuangJi Bridge 廣濟橋 2019

In 2003, rebuilding of the bridge to its original plans began. In 2007, construction completed. In 2009, Guangji Bridge was re-opened.

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2003年10月開始進行全面維修,總體按明代風格為修復依據,功能定位為旅遊觀光步行橋;2007年竣工。

建築設計 Architectural Design

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廣濟橋 西面入口 West entrance

廣濟橋為浮梁結合結構,由東西二段石梁橋和中間一段浮橋組合而成,梁橋由橋墩、石梁和橋亭三部分組成。廣濟橋全長518米,東邊梁橋長283.35米,有橋墩12個和橋台一座,橋孔12個;西邊梁橋長137.3米,有橋墩8個,橋孔7個,石梁寬5米。中間浮橋長97.3米,由十八隻木船連接而成。

Guangji Bridge is a floating beam combination structure, which is composed of the east and west section of the stone beam bridge and the middle section of the floating bridge. The beam bridge is composed of a pier, a stone beam and a bridge pavilion. The Guangji Bridge is 518 meters long, with a 283.35-meter beam bridge in the east, 12 piers and a bridge abutment, and 12 bridge holes; a 137.3-meter west bridge, 8 piers, 7 bridge holes, and 5-meter wide stone bridges. The middle pontoon is 97.3 meters long and is connected by eighteen wooden boats.

橋墩 Bridge Piers

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橋墩 Bridge Piers

The bridge pier is made of Hanshan’s large green hemp slabs of different sizes, and the slabs are superposed regularly. There is no ash between the stones, and all are tenoned. Because the bridge pier was damaged successively, the repair period was different, and it was not repaired according to the original specifications. Therefore, the bridge pier has different heights and different shapes. The piers of the Guangji Bridge have two types of shapes, one is a hexagonal ship type pier, and the other is a five-sided half ship type pier. All the bridge piers are made into a sharp shape upstream, which effectively decomposes the impact of runoff.

橋墩用韓山的大青麻條石砌成,大小不一,石條疊合很有規律,石與石之間沒有勾灰,全部卯榫。因為橋墩先後損壞,修復時期不同,又沒有按照原來的規格修復,所以橋墩的高度不同,形態各異。廣濟橋的橋墩有二種造型,一種是六邊型的船型墩,一種是五邊型的半船型墩。所有的橋墩上游都做成尖型,有效地分解徑流的衝擊力。

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古石梁 Ancient beams

The Guangji Bridge has four huge stone beams per span, the largest is about 15 meters long, 1 meter wide, 1.2 meters thick, and weighs about 50 tons. The smallest is about 12 meters long, 1 meter wide and 0.8 meters thick. For more than 100 years during the initial period, the bridge of Guangji Bridge was made of wood. It was changed to a stone beam only in the third year of Yuan Taiding (AD 1326). Limited by the nature of the girder material, the piers of Guangji Bridge are very dense. The maximum distance between the two piers is 13.45 meters, and the smallest is only 5.9 meters.

廣濟橋每跨均架四條巨大石梁,最大的長約15米,寬1米,厚1.2米,重約50噸。最小的長約12米,寬1米,厚0.8米。初創期的100多年里,廣濟橋的橋梁是木質的,在元泰定三年(公元1326年)才改為石梁。受架梁材料性質的限制,廣濟橋橋墩非常密集,兩墩之間最大的距離是13.45米,最小的只有5.9米,

橋亭 Pavilions

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橋亭 Pavilions

The bridge pavilions are all built on the bridge pier, all of which are traditional Chinese architectural styles, with various forms and different space sizes. The palace-style pavilion is east-west, spanning the bridge, one pavilion monopolizes a pier, and the roof is mainly in the form of Xieshan, Hard Mountain and Xuanshan. Miscellaneous pavilions and two pavilions together occupy one pier, and the north and south sides of the central axis of the discrete bridge. The pavilions are mostly erected according to the terrain, with various forms, and the roof is a heterogeneous spire, with various forms, including round, triangular, quadrangular, fan, and so on. The bridge pavilions are basically arranged in the form of one hall and two pavilions, with the bridge’s central axis as the axis.

橋亭都建在橋墩上,全部為中國傳統建築風格,形態多種多樣,空間大小不一。殿式閣為東西向,橫跨橋面,一閣獨佔一墩,屋頂以歇山、硬山和懸山等形式為主,規矩平穩威嚴,有如大殿,故稱殿式閣。雜式亭台二亭合佔一墩,分立大橋中軸線南北二側。亭台多依地勢而立,各具形態,屋頂為雜式攢尖,形式多樣,有圓形、三角形、四角形、扇面等等。橋亭基本以一殿配二亭的形式,以大橋中軸線為軸縱向排列。

浮橋 Pontoons

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浮橋 Pontoons

The pontoon bridge is formed by eighteen wooden boats connected horizontally side by side, with a length of 14 meters and a width of 3.6 meters, and planks are laid in the center of the boat as a bridge deck. The pontoon bridge deck is 5 meters wide, with a hull of about 5 meters long on each side of the bridge deck. The two ends of the pontoon bridge are fixed to the rocky pier of the beam bridge with iron chains, and the height changes with the fluctuation of the water level. There is a stone staircase at Itotou Pier for pedestrians to get on and off the pontoon. The pontoon can be opened and closed, and the bridge can be connected to the two-sided beam bridge, which can be opened for large ships and fast flood drainage.

浮橋由十八隻木船橫向並排連接而成,船長14米寬3.6米,船中央鋪設木板作為橋面。浮橋橋面寬5米,橋面二側各有一段長約5米的船體。浮橋二端用鐵鍊固定在梁橋的磯頭墩,隨水位漲落而高低變化。磯頭墩各有一段石階梯供行人上下浮橋。浮橋可啓可閉,閉合可連接二邊梁橋,開啓能通行大型船舶和快速排洪。

欄桿 Railings

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欄桿 Railings

The shape of the railing of Guangji Bridge is simple. The beam bridge is a common horizontal strip stone railing, with vertical columns and horizontal handrails. The pontoon part is a wooden railing, which is separated by sections and then connected by iron chains. Each section is composed of six vertical columns and two horizontal handrails. The railing is located between the two boats, which also protects the two boats while protecting it. The four horizontal bars of the stone railing are small square stone bars, of which the first, second and fourth bars are placed on the front, and the third bar is placed on the side and becomes a prismatic bar.

廣濟橋的欄桿造型簡單,梁橋部分是常見的橫條式石欄桿,竪向立柱加上橫向的扶手條。浮橋部分為木質欄桿,分段獨立再用鐵鍊連接,每段都是六根竪向立柱加二根橫向扶手條。欄桿處在兩舟之間,在防護的同時也起連接二船作用。石欄桿四根橫條都是正方形的小石條,其中第一、二和第四條正面擺放,第三條改為側面擺放,變成一條稜形條。

石雕木雕 Stone and Wood Carvings

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石雕木雕 Stone and Wood Carvings

The decoration of the bridge is focused on auspicious meaning. The engravings are traditional auspicious patterns, such as Ruyi pattern, lotus flower, plum blossoms and bamboo. The stone carving decoration is mainly on the pillars of the railings of the beam bridge. Woodcarving decoration is concentrated on the wooden roof and doors and windows of the bridge pavilion. Beams, stigmas, algae, eaves, bird stands, arches, plaques under the eaves, and fans of doors and windows are the main parts of woodcarving. The carving techniques include round carving, through carving, bas relief, deep relief, and line carving.

大橋裝飾以簡樸為主,重在吉祥寓意。雕刻內容都是傳統吉祥圖案,卷草紋、如意紋、祥雲、蓮花,梅蘭菊竹等等。石雕裝飾主要在梁橋欄桿望柱,柱頭雕成花瓶狀,寓意平安吉祥。木雕裝飾集中在橋亭的木構屋頂和門窗上,梁架、柱頭、藻井、檐角、雀替、拱托,屋檐下的匾額、門窗的槅扇都是木雕裝飾的主要部位。雕刻的工藝有圓雕、通雕、淺浮雕、深浮雕和線刻等多種。

匾額楹聯 Plaques and Couplets

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匾額楹聯 Plaques and Couplets

廣濟橋上殿式閣匾分布在大橋中軸線上,黑底金字;亭台匾,黛字黑底。匾懸掛在亭閣的正面正中,楹聯直接刻在白色花崗石柱上。

Plaques on the Guangji Bridge are placed on the central axis of the bridge, with gold characters on a black background; The plaque is suspended in the middle of the front of the pavilion, and the couplets are engraved directly on the white granite pillars.

鉎牛 Iron Ox

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鉎牛 Iron Ox

There were two copper oxen on the Guangji Bridge, located separately at the east and west beam bridges. One was washed away by the flood and the whereabouts were unknown. At present, there is an iron ox on the eighth pier of the West Bridge. The ox of Guangji Bridge is an important part of the Guangji Bridge. Floods on the Han River are frequent and the bridge is repeatedly damaged. The ox is put in place to reduce the probability of flooding.

廣濟橋上原來有二頭鉎牛,分立東西梁橋礬頭墩,後一隻被洪水衝走,下落不明。現今剩一隻獨立西橋第八墩。廣濟橋鉎牛是廣濟橋重要的組成部分,韓江水患頻繁,大橋屢屢受損,人們期望鉎牛鎮水減少水患。

廣濟橋傳奇 Legends of Guangji Bridge

湘橋春漲 Spring Floods

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湘橋春漲 Spring Floods

Every thrid month of the Lunar Calendar, there are massive tidal swells that will raise the pontoons to the same level as the piers, forming a straight line that looked like a dragon.

暮春三月,江水上漲,河面增闊,湘子橋中段十八梭船連成一線,似長龍臥波。

仙佛造橋 Deities Bridge Builders

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廣濟橋 廣濟樓邊 Guangji Bridge (Old City End)

When Han Yu, a famous poet in the history of China, came to Chaozhou, he always climbed the Bijia mountain (now called Han Mountain). From the top of the mountain, he saw the river and the difficulty of crossing it, so he asked his nephew Han Xiangzi and a monk Guangji to build a bridge. Han Xiangzi built the east bridge. He invited eight fairies(八仙)to help him. Han Xiangzi himself climbed Fenghuang Mountain, in Chaozhou, for stones. He changed the stones into black pigs and chased them to the bridge. On the way, a woman cast a spell so the pigs changed back into the stones, which could not move. Consequently, several piers in the east were not built. In order to commemorate this, people named it Xiangzi Bridge.

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廣濟橋 韓公祠邊 Guangji Bridge (Opp End)

Guangji the monk invited eighteen arhats to help him build the bridge in the west. He went on Sanpu Mountain to get stones. He changed the stones into cattle and sheep and chased them back. On the way, he met an evil landlord who tried to stop him and get his cattle and sheep. Guangji lost some cattle, so part of the bridge was not built. He Xiangu, a female fairy, dropped a lotus petal onto the river and changed it into 18 boats connecting the bridge. Guangji raised his cane and created chains to connect the boats together.

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仰韓閣 Admiration Court

即唐代韓愈來潮州後,為了溝通兩岸,請他的姪孫韓湘子等八仙與潮州的廣濟和尚分東西鬥法造橋。由於中途法力失效,致中間一段未能連接,由廣濟和尚用禪杖和八仙之何仙姑用蓮花化作巨纜和十八隻梭船連接起來,因此分別稱橋名為「湘子橋」和「廣濟橋」。而在他們法力失效的地方就有羊變成的「烏洋山」(浮洋鎮)和豬變成的「豬山」(磷溪鎮)。

吳府公祭水 Governor Wu Worship the Water

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「民不能忘」牌坊 “The people must not forget” Arch

Wu Jun was Governor of Chaozhou during the Dao Guang (1820-1850) and Xian Feng (1850-1861) years of the Qing Dynasty. One year, the river was flooded by the Han River and the city was in critical condition. His official hat and uniform were thrown into the water, indicating that he will coexist with the city in life and death. Strange to say, the flood receded at this time. Since then, people have set up his idol sacrifice in the Dongmen Tower, and built an archway “the people must not forget” in the east bridge of Xiangzi Bridge.

吳府公是清代c的潮州知府吳均,某年因韓江水漲淹上城牆,潮城危急,他在東門樓上祭水,乞求水退,但水始終沒退,於是他把自己的官帽、官服投於水中,表示與城共存亡。說也奇怪,此時洪水就退了。此後,人們在東門樓設了他的神像祭祀,並在湘子橋的東橋建了「民不能忘」的牌坊。

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廣濟門城樓

Great changes have also taken place in the Xiangziqiao area. In recent years, the Chaozhou Municipal Government has used the Hanjiang Water Conservancy Project to connect the 6-kilometer-long ancient city wall, the Guangjimen Tower, and the Xiangzi Bridge, forming a large scenic area.

現在的湘子橋一帶也發生了很大的變化。最近幾年,潮州市政府借助韓江水利樞紐工程,將6公里長的古城牆、廣濟門城樓和湘子橋連成一片,形成了一個大的景區。

Date Visited : Sep 2019

1 comment on “Tour of Chaozhou Part 3 Guangji Bridge 潮州遊記 3/3 廣濟橋

  1. Pingback: Goodbye Hung Kang, you will be missed – live2makan

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