History of Shibaozhai

Shibaozhai (Stone Treasure Fortress), situated on the northern bank of Yangtze River, is 45 kilometers from Zhongxian County to the west and 52 kilometers from Wanxian County to the east. There is a giant stone towering to the sky. According to Chinese myth, this stone is the Five-color Stone left by Goddess Nuwa. So, it is named Shibao (Stone Treasure) in accordance with the myth. It is also called "Jade Seal Mountain" because its shape is like a jade seal. (Detail)

Architecture of Shibaozhai

Shibaozhai is built with its back against the Jade Seal Mountain, which is a mountain with a single steep peak of about 40 meters high. The fortress, built in the reign of Emperor Qianlong of the Qing Dynasty, is a nine-storied wooden structure, rising from the foot of the mountain to the top of the peak. Three more stories were added to it when it was repaired in 1956, becoming a 12-storied building of 56 meters high.

Shibaozhai is considered to be one of the eight architectural miracles in the world. The building is in a strange shape with upturned eaves. It consists of Fortress gate, the body of the tower and the Lanruo Temple. The entire building is fully made of wood without any nails. Before 1956, the fortress only had nine storeys. It means nine levels of the sky (in ancient China, people thought that sky had nine levels).

In 1956 three more (called Kuixing Pavilion) were added. A spiral staircase in the pavilion can take tourists to the top to reach the temple.

Inside the pavilion, there are steles and inscriptions of past dynasties of each floor. Visitors can also admire the spectacular Yangtze River from the windows of each floor.

Culture of Shibaozhai

In the fortress, there are three groups of statues, one depicting the story of Manzi, general of state Ba, who cut his own throat in defence of his state; the second group is about Zhang Fei, a famous general of the State of Shu, who set free Yan Yan, an enemy general he had captured; the third group is about Qin Liangyu, a woman general, like Joan of Arc, who raised an army for the defence of her homeland. All the three heroes/heroine were well-known figures in the history of China. (Detail)