December 18, 2009

Recently visited Du Fu's (712-770) famed "thatch hut" in Chengdu which in true Chinese tradition is a rebuild of a rebuild not located where archaeologists now know it to have originally been. But it does show the continuing importance of his legacy. The most out of place thing there was an exhibition hall displaying photos of every Chinese Communist Party official and local functionary to visit the place. That Mao would visit makes sense, as he was a poet. I'm unclear what use it does to Du Fu's legacy that a Deputy Commissioner of the Local Tourism Department visited (I mean, wouldn't it just be in his job description anyway?). It works the other way in which the Party is still using China's rich cultural past to legitimize and enhance their own standing. There is no hall for all the domestic and international writers who have trekked here. That would be much more interesting and indicative of Du Fu's on-going influence.


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