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The Origin of Jade Spring 2017-06-27
Near Hangzhou Botanical Garden is Jade Spring, one of the three famous springs in Hangzhou. For last 700 years, it is widely known for its crystal-clear spring and fish watching. Its unique view “Jumping Fish at Jade Spring” has been cited as one of the "Eighteen Scenes of West Lake" during the Qing Dynasty (1644-1912). According to Hangzhou legend, the spring is a masterpiece of a Chinese dragon living in a bottomless ditch beside Qiantang River (钱塘江).

The ditch was called "Kaitian River" (开天河, “Kaitian” literally means the creation of the world). The Chinese dragon living in the ditch was very powerful, capable of things which were impossible to normal people, like mounting clouds and riding mist, even overturning seas and rivers. However, he was unworldly and not familiar with the way the world works.


One day, a government ship escorted two barges passing through Qiantang River. Those officers on the ship were rather cocky and knocked gongs to make other ships to give way. Among the loud beatings of gong, one can still hear people in the barges crying. The dragon was very curious and began to ask questions. It was informed that the emperor in the capital lived a rather luxurious life and forced people to build palaces for him. And the people in the barges were some of them. Learning this, the dragon got furious and used its magic to overturn the government ship and released all those poor people. On second thought, it thought that to solve the problem thoroughly, it had better kill the bad emperor and replace him with a good one. Riding on the wings of the wind, it forced into the palace. Right before it was about to kill the emperor, a brave servant hit it right in the right eye with a slingshot. The dragon was in such a pain that it fled and swore to come back.

Knowing that in Qinglian Monastery lived an old monk with superb medical skills, the dragon disguised itself as a man and went to see him. The monk saw through its little trick and got suspicious. He asked the dragon about the cause of the injury. Realizing there was no way to hide the truth any longer, the dragon confessed the whole story and added when it was fully recovered, it would search revenge. Hearing this, the monk was startled, and thought to himself that his monastery was sponsored by the emperor, and if the dragon killed the emperor, he would lose everything. Hence, he faked a smile and asked a favor from the dragon as a reward for curing its eye: creating a spring for the monastery because the monastery was low on water supply. Unaware that it was a setup, the dragon agreed instantly and drilled into the ground. The jade-clear water gurgled out from the spring eye he went in. The deeper it drilled, the more water came out. Gradually, the water formed a pond.


Before the dragon could get out, the old monk moved the holy pagoda standing before Buddha right on the spring eye and imprisoned the dragon underground. The pond formed by the dragon was then named Jade Spring because the water was as clear as jade.

Not far from Jade Spring, there are two other pools nearby, "Pearl Spring (珍珠泉)" and "Showers on a Sunny Day (晴空喜雨泉)". Legend has it that the head of the dragon is under Pearl Spring. Hence, when one stamps his foot on the edge of the pond, the dragon will be waken and its breath will cause pearl-like bubbles rising endlessly to the surface. While the tail of the dragon is under the "Showers on a Sunny Day", that’s why on sunny days, the pond is always covered with mist.

Where to go:
Jade Spring
Address: No.2, Taoyuan Hill, Yuquan, Hangzhou (杭州市玉泉桃源岭2号)
Tel: 86-571-87961908
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No.188, Fuchun Road, Hangzhou, China
TEL: 86-571-96123
FAX: 86-571-96123
Complain: slw@hz.gov.cn
Consult: slw@hz.gov.cn