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Contemporary Architecture, Rare Books, Monasteries
NINGBO: BEHIND THE SCENES
Ningbo, which translates as Serene Waves, is a seaport on China’s east coast. Its importance as a trading port grew for centuries where Arabs, Jewish and Portuguese traders established communities. Excavations in the 1970s revealed a Neolithic culture thrived in and around Ningbo. Explore the rich heritage of this ‘off the beaten path’ Chinese city ~ a short train ride from Shanghai. 

NEW AND OLD
The Ningbo Museum (pictured above) was designed by Pritzker Award-winning architect Wang Shu. The design is a conceptual combination of mountains, water and oceans. Visit the museum with a noted local architectural historian and learn about the millions of found tiles that decorate the exterior of the museum. Using found materials was a traditional way to decorate houses.

TREASURE TROVE
Built in 1561, the Tianyi Pavilion is the oldest standing library in China. In its heyday, it was a treasury of over 70,000 antique books. Today, the collection is comprised of 30,000 volumes, mostly rare antique Ming dynasty (1368-1644) printed and hand copied volumes. Idle away the day with a curator of rare books.

BUDDHIST ABODE
Ride a ferry to Zhoushan Island and meander to Putuo Shan, one of China’s sacred Buddhist peaks. The landscape of mountains and water echoes the design concept of the Ningbo Museum. Travel with a Buddhologist and learn about the three main monasteries on the mountain, and the cult of Guanyin ~ Goddess of Compassion.

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In 1973, artefacts from the Neolithic Hemudu culture (5000-4500 BC) were discovered on the outskirts of Ningbo and on Zhoushan Island. The Hemudu culture was one of the earliest to cultivate rice. Hemudu's elegant, black burnished pottery is a testament to the skills and taste of ancient potters.


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