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Following the Lead of the Banknotes 2019-01-02
Hangzhou’s beauty has long been appreciated in all art forms, and ancient poems, articles, pictures left behind are all testament to its status in history. Banknotes around the world have instituted the practice of putting the images of important cultural figures and archetypes central to the history of that country to commemorate their contributions and China is no exception, honoring a few heavenly natural landscapes and historical sites in this timeless manner, including a few found in Hangzhou.

Baochu Pagoda

Zhejiang Regional Banknote 1 Jiao, issued in 1932 and the image on the left being of Baochu Pagoda

Baochu Pagoda, at Precious Stone Hill, is one of the most enduring landmarks of Hangzhou and was built during the Xianping years of the Northern Song Dynasty (998 - 1003) for the passage of prayers to be sent to heaven for the safe return of the last king of the Wuyue Kingdom. Currently, the pagoda is a seven-storey wood and brick pagoda with no internal staircase. Baochu Pagoda is praised as a beauty for its slender and elegant appearance, while Leifeng Pagoda from across the West Lake is described as an eminent monk.

Autumn Moon over the Calm Lake

Sichuan Voucher 5 Yuan, issued in 1921; the left image is of Autumn Moon over the Calm Lake

Shanxi Regional Banknote 1 Yuan, issued in 1930; the center image is of Autumn Moon over the Calm Lake

Located on the west side of Bai Causeway at the southern foot of the Solitary Hill and bordering the outer lake of West Lake, ‘Autumn Moon over the Calm Lake’ is the place to view autumn moon. On a cool breezy autumn night when the full moon hangs high in the sky and its reflection dances on the shimmering water of West Lake, the scene is comparable only to those described in passages that imagine heaven. For its beauty and the impact it has on visitors, the place has for long captured the hearts of ancient scholars and emperors and catapulted itself onto the list of ‘Traditional Top Ten Views of West Lake’. On the stele erected nearby, one can find the inscriptions by the Kangxi Emperor of the Qing Dynasty and Qianlong Emperor of the Qing Dynasty.

Fanghe Pavilion (Crane Pavilion)

Zhejiang Regional Banknote 1 Yuan, issue in 1939; the left image is of Fanghe Pavilion

2000 Yuan issued in 1948 by Huazhong Bank; the left image is of Fanghe Pavilion

Fanghe Pavilion is located at the western foot of the Solitary Hill. It was originally built during the Yuan Dynasty era (1271-1368) to commemorate a renowned Song Dynasty Poet - Lin Hejing and was rebuilt in 1915. It’s common knownledge that Lin Hejing was a big fan of cultivating plum trees and keeping cranes, leading to the pavilion being named Crane Pavilion and a large number of plum trees being planted at the place. Whenever winter comes, plum blossoms are in full bloom and an enchanting fragrance pervades the air, such a treat for the senses!

Three Pools Mirroring the Moon

Foreign Exchange Certificate 1 Yuan, issued in 1979 by China Bank with the center image being the Three Pools Mirroring the Moon

RMB 1 Yuan, issued in 1999 with the image of Three Pools Mirroring the Moon

Three Pools Mirroring the Moon is the largest of the three fairy islets in the outer lake of the West Lake, along with Mid-lake Pavilion and Ruan Gong Islet, which are accessible only by boat. Erected at the place are three gourd-shaped stone pagodas seen sticking two meters out of the water surface, forming an equilateral triangle with the distance between each measuring 62 meters. The stone pagodas are all hollow with five small round holes of equal shape on their body. At the night of the Mid-autumn Festival, lit candles are put inside these holes with thin paper sealing them off. The reflection of candle light on the water surface resembles that of the moon and together with the actual moon in the sky and its reflection, they form the spectacular scene of 17 moons shinning in the night.
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