Longmen Ancient Town (simplified Chinese: 龙门镇; traditional Chinese: 龍門鎮; pinyin: Lóngmén Zhèn) is a town of 7000 in northwestern Zhejiang province, People's Republic of China, located 17 kilometers (11 mi) south of the city of Fuyang, which administers it. The town lies south of the Fuchun River, at the foothills of the Xianxia Range, and oversees 11 administrative villages. Over 90% of its people are surnamed Sun.
In the shadow of a lush mountain and near a slow-moving river in southeast China sits this village, whose name means Dragon Gate.
There are narrow alleys and whitewashed homes and the flesh of sliced bamboo drying on the ground. Its humble appearance, though, belies the fact that it played a role in the famous Three Kingdoms era, when kings leading rival states fought in the third century over the right to succeed the Han empire.
The village had 80 homes dating to the Ming dynasty (1368-1644) and 40 to the Qing dynasty (1644-1911). The villagers began preserving the homes in 2002, when they realized there was tourism potential. About 10 of the 120 or so buildings are open to the public.
Longmen Ancient Town is a modern tourist attraction ranked as an AAAA‑class national scenic spot. The village is surrounded by mountains. It is named after an ancient poem written by the poet Yan Ziling (严子陵) when he visited here. Also, it is the homeland of Sun Quán, who was the emperor of Wu during the Three Kingdom Period.
According to tradition, the Suns of Longmen are descendants of this third century warlord. Sun Quán himself is said to have been born a short distance from Longmen, on an islet in the Fuchun River. A 1939 genealogy traces their lineage continuously back twenty six generations to a Song Dynasty official. In the past, the Suns of Longmen were divided into ten sub-lineages and held joint grand ceremonies honoring their ancestors every spring and autumn, but this practice stopped after 1949.
Fifty years ago there were some sixty heritage buildings in Longmen, and about half of those are still standing today. Among them are ancestral halls, homes, pagodas and memorial arches - most of which have a history of over three hundred years. The Longmen Ancient Town structures are good examples of classical southern architecture and feature intricate wood carvings from Zhejiang folklore. The favorite decorative motifs used are from Three Kingdoms stories popular since the Song Dynasty.
The local theatrical performances, called the "Bamboo Horse Dance" are unique for their portrayal of Sun Quán as a hero. In traditional Three Kingdoms folklore, Sun Quán is normally seen as an ambivalent and often frustrated leader who is time and again bested by Liu Bei and his cunning strategist Zhuge Liang. At Longmen, the favorite plays are "Burning Red Cliffs", showing Sun Quan's defeat of Cao Cao at the Battle of Red Cliffs and "Burning the Linked Encampments", showing Sun Quan's defeat of Liu Bei at the Battle of Yiling.
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