Wuyuan and Jingdezhen, Jiangxi Province (4 days)
Visit rural Wuyuan to hike trails through fields of flowers and explore ancient villages and ancestral halls; stop by Jingdezhen to experience a porcelain workshop and visit the Jingdezhen China Ceramics Museum.
|Day One main activities||Late-afternoon meet up in Wuyuan, check in at the hotel in Yancun, explore Yancun Village.|
|Day Two main activities||Walking tour of Sixi Village and a long hike between Fangcun Village and Jujing Village, visit Baizhu Ancestral Hall, overnight in Qinghua Village.|
|Day Three main activities||Hike in the Jiangling area, explore Wangkou Village and the Yu Ancestral Hall, short hike around Lingjiao Village, overnight in Qinghua Village.|
|Day Four main activities||Visit a local market and take a look at the Rainbow Bridge, drive to Jingdezhen, visit Jingdezhen’s Porcelain Museum and try painting your own porcelain, visit the Jingdezhen Ceramics Museum.|
Wuyuan County, Jiangxi Province
Located east of Jingdezhen in Jiangxi Province, Wuyuan County is home to many small villages scattered among the streams and forested hills. It is a bucolic and tranquil area, and difficult to reach by public transport. In recent times it has become a popular tourist destination, but we plan to head for less busy areas while still making sure to take in the key highlights. Huijie did a scouting trip here in late 2020, and she has reorganised the itinerary to make sure we will be able to visit all her favourite spots—old favourites, and new favourites!
Villages and ancient architecture
River towns and bridges
The Wuyuan area is filled with small villages, many of which are home to temples and other well-preserved ancient architecture. Villagers still preserve a laidback way of life. This trip will take us through several villages, notably Yancun, Jiangling, and Wangkou.
Yancun is a village that features many examples of interesting ancient architecture. Many of the larger houses were built by successful businessmen of days long gone by—some with more than three floors. A river flows past the village, and it is surrounded by fields and forested hills.
Jiangling Village is a small settlement in a farming area, and it’s here we’re hoping to see all the flowers.
Wangkou is a riverside village which we’ll visit to find the Yu Family Ancestral Hall.
Many ancient cedar wood covered bridges can be found in Wuyuan, and we’ll visit the Qinghua Rainbow Bridge, the most famous of them all. Built in the Song Dynasty (960-1279 AD), the 140m long bridge is made entirely of wood.
We’ll do a good amount of walking in and around the villages, including an excellent long walk through farmland and non-touristy villages that will give you a look at the countryside lifestyle in the area.
Ancestral halls, temples, and shrines are buildings dedicated to important ancestors of a particular family. Those ancestors were typically rich and/or powerful, and were able to pass on that wealth and power—getting your own ancestral hall couldn’t be an easy thing to achieve.
Inside the halls you may see carved tablets that represent those ancestors, and sometimes statues, too.
The halls, temples, and shrines were used for rituals that honour the ancestors, and they were also used by family and the wider community for weddings and funerals.
In Wuyuan we’ll visit the Yu Family Ancestral Hall, which was built in 1787, and the Baizhu Clan Ancestral Hall, which is even older, dating back to the period of the late Ming Dynasty and early Qing Dynasty.
Fields of flowers
In early spring, the fields and hillside terraces of Wuyuan County turn totally yellow with blooming rapeseed flowers, adding to the already serene and pastoral beauty of the area. We’ve timed this trip to coincide with the time of flowering, and will be hiking in and around the beautiful flowers for much of our visit. As well as looking pretty, rapeseed is also used to produce vegetable oil, biodiesel, and animal feed.
Jingdezhen, China’s ‘Porcelain Capital’
The city of Jingdezhen has over 2,000 years of recorded history. It is known as the ‘Porcelain Capital,’ having produced quality pottery for 1,700 years, with one particularly beautiful Yuan Dynasty-era (AD 1278-1368) piece going for the equivalent of ¥230,000,000 at a London auction house in 2005.
We’ll visit a porcelain museum and factory on the last day of the trip—but don’t worry, no one is going to ask you to buy a two-hundred-million renminbi piece of porcelain!
Instead we’ll visit the workshop of Master Kang, one of the artisans in the area, to get a look at the process of making ceramics. As part of the visit, you’ll be able to paint your own decorations on a basic ceramic item from the shop, which Master Kang will fire for you and post to us in Beijing—all included as part of the trip, and at no extra cost.
Jingdezhen Museum of China Ceramics
After you’ve tried your hand at ceramics decoration at Master Kang’s, we’ll drive into Jingdezhen to visit the Museum of China Ceramics. We’ll see a huge collection of ceramic masterpieces—the museum contains a 36,000 piece-plus collection of porcelain that goes back as far as Neolithic times, covers the Han and Tang Dynasties, and includes masterpieces of more modern vintage.