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Heptachord Terrace (Guqin Tai)

Heptachord Terrace, or Guqin Tai, is located in the north of the Hanyang District of Wuhan City, Hubei Province. It is situated at the west of Tortoise Hill on the bank of Moon Lake.

(Source: nipic.com)

The terrace is a reminder of the legend of Yu Boya who was a famous official who lived in the Jin State during the Spring and Autumn Period (BC 770-476) and was an expert heptachord player. One day, Yu Boya played two pieces of music on his way home by boat from an official visit to the Chu State. One was a composition called High Mountain and the other Flowing Water. To Yu Boya's amazement, Zhong Ziqi, a woodcutter, understood and appreciated his music. Yu Boya admired Zhong Ziqi's musical attainment and after a long conversation they became friends. Since Yu Boya had to return to his state, they agreed to meet again in the coming year. Unfortunately, Yu Boya found his friend had died from a disease before their planned meeting could take place and was deeply grieved upon hearing the news. Upon setting up an altar near his friend's grave and burning incense, he played the two songs once again. The emotion of the music was so strong it was as if the rivers and the mountains were crying. When he had finished playing, the distraught musician broke his heptachord to pieces. From that time, Yu Boya never played again.

The terrace was built in honor of the sincere friendship between Yu Boya and Zhong Ziqi during the Song Dynasty (960-1279) and later restored by a prefect living in Hubei Province during the early years of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911).

Surrounded by water on three sides, the Heptachord Terrace is set among beautiful scenery. Along with the stone terrace, a hall named 'High Mountain and Flowing Water' stands on the site. Other recreational features around Heptachord Terrace are a courtyard, a teahouse and an arboretum. At the entrance to Heptachord Terrace, you are confronted by a colorful glaze-tiled hall over which the Chinese characters say 'Guqin Tai'. Walking to the north brings you to a screen wall facing the gate of a house. On the screen is carved the Chinese character written by the Daoguang Emperor (1875-1909) of the Qing Dynasty. Passing a small gate to the east of this screen wall, a zigzag veranda lies in front of you. Here you will see many stone carvings and a stele inscription commemorating the restoration of the Heptachord Terrace. On the west of the veranda is the Heptachord Hall in front of which is a white marble terrace. As the legend suggests, it was on this terrace where Yu Boya played his instrument. There is an exhibition of wax figures depicting how the two men became friends with a white marble statue of Yu Boya playing the Heptachord.

A trip to the Heptachord Terrace will help tourists appreciate the friendly nature of Chinese people and have a better understanding of the stress they place upon sincere affection.

Source: TravelChinaGuide.com

Editor: Xu Xinlei


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