Heshun Old Town History
Heshun is one of the key assets in Tengchong’s tourism arsenal is the historic merchant town of Heshun, just a few kilometres from Tengchong itself. Heshun is well known as one of China’s most significant ‘Overseas Chinese Villages’ (侨乡), by which is meant that over time many people from this town have travelled abroad for trade, marriage, education and so on, and thus have built up strong ties between villages and towns in Heshun and overseas Chinese communities abroad. In its 600 years of history, most of the families of Heshun were involved in trade with Burma. Those who did well in the trade – and that seems to have included quite a few families – built large and elaborate mansions in Heshun. They also contributed to the construction of public facilities and amenities. Heshun has one of the first modern public libraries in China. Heshun is also the birth place of many famous locals including Ai Siqi (艾思奇) (1910-1966), a well-known Marxist intellectual who was once a teacher of Mao Zedong.
In Heshun the traders didn’t organise their own caravans. They called upon other locals (from other villages/towns) to do so. The caravan organisers and muleteers generally came from very poor backgrounds (although some chief muleteers – 马锅头 – did very well). According to Mr Wang there were no ‘name brand commercial’ caravans in the region (商号马帮), unlike in Dali where some professional caravan companies had amassed great fortunes. The caravans had a lead mule/horse (头马) which was decorated very beautifully/elaborately, with a mirror on the forehead (to reflect evil). Generally mules were used for haulage and horses for riding. Mr Wang also recollects the time before 1949 when after the harvest the tenant farmers would bring rice to the landlords houses. The rice was transported either on the back of oxen or mules. Reference was also made to the past conflict between the Qing (Han) and Muslims (Hui). There is a battle site grave near Heshun where the remains of many men and horses have been discovered.
Àisīqí (艾思奇) is the penname of Li Sheng-Hsuen (李生萱), 1910–1966), Yunnan Mongol Chinese philosopher and author.Aisiqi was born in Yunnan, later he moved to Hong Kong, where he studied English and French at a Protestant school and was exposed to Sun Yat-sen’s “Three Principles of the People” and Marxism.He read a great deal of Marxism, including the “Communist Manifesto” . This reading is the root of Aisiqi’s most important works Historical Materialism and Dialectical Materialism (歷史唯物主義與辯証唯物主義) and Philosophy for the Masses (大眾哲學)(1948).
A small museum dedicated to the life and work of Aisiqi is located in the house in Heshun where he lived for two years.The museum contains personal effects and pictures of Aisiqi and his wife. Especially impressive are the very long but very detailed pictures of communist party conferences that Aisiqi attended. The outside yard has a statue of Aisiqi.
Wan Family House
The Wanlouzi (弯楼子) or Wan Family House is now the “Heshun Residence Museum”. It still has the original kitchen in one of the courtyards.empty spacer.he house was confiscated during the revolution and later ransacked by the Red Guards but still is a nice example of an upper-class residence.
The Silk Road
The Silk Road is an international road of historical significance. It is the ancient passage -way that has connected the civilizations and thus promoted the multi-interchange between East and West. The ancient road has its start in Changan, an ancient capital of China (now Xian), and its terminus on the eastern coast of the Mediterranean through the Gobi deserts, vast grassland, magnificent mountains of Tianshan, Karakurum, Himalayans and others.
Silk Road starts from Xian in central China. It goes to the west and reaches to Dunhuang through the Hexi corridor. From Dunhuang further to west, goes by three different routes known as Southern Silk Road,Central Silk Road and Northern Silk Road. Southern Route rides to southwest through ancient city of Kroran (Loulan), Miran and along the south of the Taklamakan desert, come to Khotan, Yarkand finally to Kashgar. Central Route arrives at the oasis of Kumul, Turpan and crossing the Tianshan Mountain to Kucha, Aksu then to Kashgar.