In the first blogpost of the series, we visited a replica of the thatched cottage. Today we examine a real Tang Dynasty ruins that was excavated in 2001 within the compound of Du Fu Thatched Cottage Museum.
Tang Dynasty Ruins Museum 唐代遗址 is an exhibition of the findings of the archaeological excavation in end of 2001, where Tang Dynasty relics and a large amount of cultural treasures were found among the ruins accidentally unearthed when building underground sewers in the area.
The Tang Dynasty ruins are one of the most important cultural relics of the Tang Dynasty in the Chengdu Plain. It shows the social life style of Chengdu in the Tang Dynasty, confirms Du Fu’s description of his living environment and living conditions, and provides physical evidence for the historical evolution of Du Fu Thatched Cottage.
The area of the exhibition hall is more than 400 square meters. Within the compound of the Tang Dynasty ruins, people excavated three wells, seven house ruins, and a large number of Tang porcelain, coins, brick and tile fragments and other cultural relics.
Among the relics were items from the daily life and utensils of that period. Besides relics, the layout of the excavation depicted life in that era that were described in Du Fu’s poems about the thatched cottage.
Tang Dynasty Steele for Monk’s Pagoda Inscription 唐代僧人塔铭碑
It is precisely because of the unearthing of this precious Tang monument that archaeologists and historians can conclude that the hut where Du Fu lived when the “poetry saint” was in Chengdu was in this exact area.
The Cuigong 垂拱 or “draping arch” on the Tang steel is the year of Li Dan, Emperor Ruizong of the Tang Dynasty 唐睿宗 李旦 (actually ruled by Wu Zetian at that time), and the “third year of Cuigong” is 687 AD. The words on this Tang Steele matched with the description of “the ancient temple’s monks are in prison, and empty rooms tenants live” (古寺僧牢落，空房客寓居) in Du Fu’s poem “Gived by the Rewards” written when he first settled in Chengdu.
After Du Fu entered Shu 蜀 (olden name for Sichuan), he built a pavilion here. Today only an ancient foundation remained. A replica is built nearby using the same design and dimensions.
Du Fu Thatched Cottage Series
Du Fu Thatched Cottage 杜甫草堂 is a museum and memorial for Tang Dynasty poet and politician, Du Fu 杜甫 (712-770 AD). He is known as the Saint of Poetry 诗圣 and had written over 1,400 poems during his lifetime. The memorial is located in a 24 acre (97,000 square meter) park by the side of a stream called the Huanhua Stream 浣花溪 in Chengdu’s western suburb. Du Fu resided in a thatched cottage at the site where he took refuge in Chengdu during a war.
Visited in Dec 2021