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7 May, Sanjiang to Dragon’s Backbone Rice Terraces
Immortal Scenery Hotel 140CNY

FAKE! The “totem poles” outside the drum tower in the Dong ethnic minority village of Ma’an are covered with moulded foam rubber painted to look like carved wood! Such a disappointment.  

We travelled to Ma’an to view the Chengyang Wind and Rain Bridge built by Dong carpenters; the Dong are one of 56 ethnic minority groups in China. “A Wind and Rain bridge is normally composed of the bridge, a tower and a pavilion, with wood being the main building material ... A specialty of these bridges is that no nails [are] used in their construction. Rather, the genius Dong carpenters use groove joints in structural members of the bridge to hold them together and transmit the load to the pier ... The most famous of these bridges is Chengyang Bridge ... It was built in 1916, and is one of the best and the largest wind and rain bridges in China. The bridge has two platforms (one at each end of the bridge), 3 piers, 3 spans, 5 pavilions, 19 verandas, and three floors. The bridge is 64.4 meters long, 3.4 meters wide and 10.6 meters high” (amusingplanet.com).

Dong drum towers are designed to resemble a cedar tree. “The Dong drum towers are built without any nails. The entire structure is dove-tailed and supported by sixteen wooden beams or pillars. The four central pillars are called the “Golden Pillars” and represent the four seasons, while the twelve others represent the twelve months of the year” (travelcathay.com). A quick internet search has not revealed any discussion about Dong “totem poles”, so we have no idea whether Ma’an’s fake poles are fake in more ways than one.

From Ma’an we travelled back to Sanjiang then via Longsheng to the Dragon’s Backbone rice terraces. A cable car carried us up and over the extraordinary terraces. LOVE the name of our hotel. 

Chengyang wind and rain bridge
Chengyang wind and rain bridge
Chengyang wind and rain bridge
Chengyang wind and rain bridge
Chengyang wind and rain bridge
Chengyang wind and rain bridge
Chengyang wind and rain bridge
Chengyang wind and rain bridge
Chengyang wind and rain bridge
Chengyang wind and rain bridge
"New" wind and rain bridge
"New" wind and rain bridge
Ma'an Dong village
Ma'an Dong village
Ma'an Dong village
Ma'an Dong village
Ma'an Dong village - drum tower
Ma'an Dong village - drum tower
Ma'an Dong village - fake totem pole
Ma'an Dong village - fake totem pole
Ma'an Dong village
Ma'an Dong village
Ma'an Dong village
Ma'an Dong village
Ma'an Dong village - tour group guide
Ma'an Dong village - tour group guide
Ma'an Dong village - waterwheel
Ma'an Dong village - waterwheel
Dragon's Backbone rice terraces
Dragon's Backbone rice terraces
Dragon's Backbone rice terraces
Dragon's Backbone rice terraces
Dragon's Backbone rice terraces
Dragon's Backbone rice terraces
Dragon's Backbone rice terraces
Dragon's Backbone rice terraces
Dragon's Backbone rice terraces
Dragon's Backbone rice terraces
Dragon's Backbone rice terraces
Dragon's Backbone rice terraces
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