China's 2000-year-old irrigation system that's still in use today

The invention of the Dujiangyan Irrigation Project - a vast water conservation project in China - has left the world precious historical and cultural heritage.

Modern Rubbing of A Stone Coffin with Portrait of Double Wue Tower and An Ancient Building in Dujiangyan, SichuanSichuan Museum

The Dujiangyan Irrigation Project was built late in the Qin Zhaowang (~256 BC - ~251 BC).

This vast water conservancy project was created through the pioneering work of Qin governor, irrigation engineer, and hydrologist Li Bing.

The project comprises three key elements, called "fish mouth", "sand weir" and "treasure bottle mouth".

For more than 2,000 years, Dujiangyan has helped flood control and irrigation, converting the Chengdu plan into a "land of abundance".

Dujiangyan's engineering model has benefited all living beings on the plain for thousands of years.

Its sustainable development promotes the harmonious coexistence of humans and nature, linking to the cultural concepts of humans as an intergral part of nature, and the Taoist observance of natural rules. 

Dujiangyan was listed as World Cultural Heritage by UNESCO in 2000.

This Chinese stone inscription rubbing, is the Dujiangyan double tower, balustrade architectural picture of the stone rubbing.

It was unearthed in Wugui village, Yuanguan township, 1926, and collected by the Dujiangyan cultural administration in 1984.

The Statue of LibingSichuan Museum

This 2.9m statue was found 5m underwater in Waijiang River below the Dujiangyan suspension bridge in March 1974.

An inscription from the time of Dujiangyan's construction suggests that it is Li Bing.

Not only an artwork, the statue has aided research into the history of Dujiangyan.

Graphic Chart of the Internal and External River Survey of Dujiangyan in the 36th YearSichuan Museum

Dujiangyan's annual repairs included systematic maintenance in the dry season - every winter and spring.

A regular system of repairs was set up. The principle of restoration is the six characters of "deep clean beach", and "low weir".

"Clean beach" referred to the digging of gravel deposited on the inlet riverbed, and at the river outlet. The "weir" refers to the repair of the dam at Feisha Weir.

Brick Relief of Paying Taxes in Grain, Eastern H (25/220)Sichuan Museum

Repairs were funded by the government and special taxes - through payment in grain.

This granary has five ridges, shown near the middle of the scene.

Two men sit on the platform in front of the granary, one with a hat and wide-sleeved robe - the master.

The man beside the master holds a shield. He bows to his master, holding a bamboo chip.

The attendant exits the house to pay grain taxes.

Brick Relief of Farming (25/220)Sichuan Museum

Before Dujiangyan, the Sichuan area was frequently victim to droughts and floods.

Dujiangyan changed the situation dramatically, banishing drought, flooding, hunger, and famine. And the area all around Chengdu reaped the benefits.

In this scene of a field and trees, six people work, holding sickles and lifting them uniformly as though dancing.

The two at the back hold tools in one hand, with the other motioning as though sowing seeds.

Brick relief of pulling up seedlings and weeding (25/220)Sichuan Museum

Depicted here is field work, weeding the area where rice is planted in the south of China.

The action is simple and mechanical: people pull the seedlings while having a conversation.

Gradually, these interactions led to the formation of the dense regional characteristics of the song.

In the left scene, two farmers are weeding - pulling up seedlings with a stick.

In the right scene, two farmers are holding hoes. A chicken and a pig are in front of farmers.

Brick Relief of Seeding (25/220)Sichuan Museum

Dujiangyan improved the situation of drought and flood in Chengdu, so that farmers could work in the fields.

In the right part of the scene, two farmers are seeding, while one farmer is holding a hoe to cultivate, reflecting agricultural practice at the time.

Brine Well Relief Brick of Eastern Han Dynasty (25/220)Sichuan Museum

In addition to benefiting everyone through soil and water treatment, Dujiangyan helps manage labor distribution, which has benefited many generations.

This salt well picture brick shows salt making and the tools used by Sichuan people during the Han dynasty.

In the background are rolling mountains.

In the lower left is a brine well, and above that a high shelf with three floors.

The jigger on the top hangs a bucket, and four people standing on the shelf are drawing salt water.

The salt groove by the shelf is used to store salt water, from which a bamboo water pipe will lead the salt water into the stove at the lower right corner of the scene.

The long stove has a caldron on it. Two people is working there, and one of them is taking care of the fire at the stove door.

The four people in the middle look like to be transporting salt packets. The two people at the upper right are hunting with cross-bows.

Handled Pot with Spout from Yutang Kiln (618/907)Sichuan Museum

One of the largest kilns in Dujiangyan during Tang and Song dynasties was Yutang kiln.

Yutang produced more than forty types of porcelain, mainly decorated through printing and carving.

Blue Glazed Pot with Two-ear from Yutang Kiln (618/907)Sichuan Museum

This small porcelain pot is distinctive of Yutang porcelain.

It has a short neck, bulging belly, "pie feet" and shoulders with symmetrical "ears".

It was made with a brown undercoat and blue glaze, giving this beautiful green colour.

Rubbing of Zhang Jingzhong (major governer of Yizhou of Tang Dynasty)'s Statement (725)Sichuan Museum

This table is the Ttang dynasty zhang jingzhong report, and documents property disputes between Taoist monks.

It is written in semi-cursive script, and has fourteen lines.

Each line has twenty-four characters.

Potery Oil-efficient Lamp Potery Oil-efficient Lamp (618/907)Sichuan Museum

During the Tang dynasty, the earliest oil lamps appeared in the Sichuan area.

Qiong kiln lamps were especially famous.

This one has a double calyx and handle.

Potery Oil-efficient Lamp Potery Oil-efficient Lamp of Tang Dynasty-1Sichuan Museum

Oil is held in the flat arc lamp surface, and water is injected into the double calyx from a short mouth at the front.

The cold water lowers the temperature, helping conserve oil.

Brick Relief of Phoenix And Gate Tower (25/220)Sichuan Museum

Que is a type of ancient Chinese ancient architecture used during the Han dynasty for buildings and stone temples.

Generally, Que architecture includes a base, body and roof.

Here two gate towers, made up of "mother" and "child" towers, are decorated with the a phoenix.

Bronze Pinch-pot (1368/1644)Sichuan Museum

The cast pot was used for throwing at the feasts of ancient literati and officialdom.

When princes invited guests to shoot arrows, any men unable to do it were regarded as a disgrace.

Later, when guests couldn't shoot arrows they threw wine bottles instead.

Eventually, pottery throwing replaced archery, becoming a kind of etiquette during the Autumn Dynasty.

Lotus Petal Shaped Porcelain Cup (618/907)Sichuan Museum

The porcelain bowl has a shape of a lotus flower with a wide mouth and a round stand.

There is a lip on the rim and a column-shaped handle set between the mouth and abdomen.

The bowl has a brown body and bluish-yellow glaze with caramel glaze spots.

Bronze Tea Cup (960/1279)Sichuan Museum

Sichuan was the first place to grow, prepare and drink tea in the world, and it continues to be a major tea producer today.

The industry, and the manufacture and utensils, promote economic growth, and enrich people's lives.

Ancient tea cups have been unearthed in Sichuan - like this bronze one.

Golden Bowl with Patterns of Cotton Rose Petal (960/1279)Sichuan Museum

This unique bowl in the shape of blooming cotton flower is decorated with veined petal patterns.

Silver Box Embossed with Magpie Pattern (960/1279)Sichuan Museum

Metalwork carving is a traditional ancient Chinese technique.

Artisans would use a hammer to hit a chisel, making varied shapes and 3D lines on the surface of ornaments.

On this box, magpies stand on a plum tree, heralding good news. Plum blossom symbolizes the noble character of literati.

Silver Box Embossed with Floral and Peacock Patterns (960/1279)Sichuan Museum

This silver Song dynasty box is embossed with flowers and peacocks.

Rhinoceros Horn Cup with Panchi Patterns (1368/1644)Sichuan Museum

Chi is a legendary hornless dragon without horns. It opens its mouth, rolls its tail and drags victims away.

The upper part of this jug has petal patterns decorated with a chi dragon.

Silver Curcumbitate Pot (960/1279)Sichuan Museum

The pot has a shape of a melon.

The lid of the pot is decorated with leaves and connected to the handle with a chain.

Credits: Story

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