Mar 14 2016

The tomb of a girl

She’s a maid and became the last concubine of Zhou Fu. For reasons unclear – there are several versions as why – she’s chased out of the door of the Zhous and lived her live out elsewhere. Her son pleaded for her return but the patriarch didn’t budge. After death, she’s buried in the Meishan 梅山.

A sad story.

Getting to her tomb is the most difficult.

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Form tomb carer’s home. The carers were never paid in cash but my ancestors always had enough acreage and crops for them to live on. In this case, the chestnut trees (板栗), full mountain of them.

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Time’s short with this group of hosts. I hope in the near future, I could come and spend a week or two to volunteer.  Next stop, Lujiang.


Mar 13 2016

Cement Dam 洋灰坝

My second stop after the Reception Hall is this Cement Dam 洋灰坝 by a broccoli rabe field 油菜 at 尧渡老河韩家滩 in Dongzhi.


This dam was built by Zhou Fu’s 4th son Xuexi in 1924. At the time, the county was known as Qiupu 秋浦. According to his diary entry in 1924 (pic below, third paragraph), seeing the flood from Yaodu River over the years, as he was constructing the dam on the Hanjiatan bank, not only to enhance the protection to his ancestors’ graves but also benefit the locals.

修建秋浦韩家滩河坝 … 捐款修洋灰坝,以保障民田,不仅为祖坟作护堤已也.

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A new building is going up at one end of the bridge; buildings on the other end of bridge.  A major roadway. My next stop is to visit Mr. Chen, the 3rd generation of tomb caretaker.

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Mar 13 2016

Zhou Ancestral Hall 周氏宗祠

From Tangshan Temple 唐山寺 we went to Zhou Ancestral Hall, which we passed on the way in. It has moved to current location from the reservoir.

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The modest Zhou Ancestral Hall.

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The kitchen and …

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Mar 13 2016

Tangshan Si 唐山寺

After lunch, we went to visit Tangshan Temple on Yaodu River (尧渡河上游四水交汇处丶秧畈村). My family has a deep root with this temple before the year 907 – this is the first place the Zhous huddled together, 这里是周氏家族最早的聚居地.

百科 唐山寺,又名千年唐山古刹,位于安徽省池州市东至县东至县花园里乡的深山峡谷中,始建于唐高宗显庆5年(公元660年),距今一千三百四十年之久,占地面积约76000平方米。唐山寺地处县城以南,背靠龙腾峰,面朝虎跃库。唐山寺内有全国重点文物舍利塔、赵朴初亲书匾额、周氏(周馥)宗祠石额、塔冡及石刻石碑记等。

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Main Hall 大雄宝殿 (zh wiki: 大雄殿,或简称大殿,日本称金堂、本堂,是漢傳佛教寺院或各類祭祀場所對主殿的慣常稱呼.)

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A tomb for Zhou Fu’s mom, by her great grandsons was behind the Main Hall, up the steep hill. Someone has put a grave above/behind, presumably illegally. I didn’t take any photos of it.

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Nostalgia: a well and washing board.

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We then left for Zhou Ancestral Hall 周氏宗祠 and the water reservoir.

Mar 13 2016

Home site

The house under the tree to the left belongs to Shengliang who’s the driving force of Zhou Culture Association. He grew up in this house but is living elsewhere. The area on the right side of the house was the former site of Zhou Fu’s home. It’s since demolished and new multiple stores building had gone up.


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A well used by Zhou Fu and family. The last one is the side of the reception hall.

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The nearby area …

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Mar 13 2016

My first trip to Dongzhi

My trip to Dongzhi county 东至县 with over half a million people (530k) started off on the wrong foot: I was taken to the wrong train station by the relative who purchased the ticket. Yes, I missed the train. Should have been Shanghai Station instead of Hongqiao. It’s as much my fault too, for not checking! I ended up going on a standing ticket – the only ticket available, and 1:24 hour late.

In 2019: a tradition in the making  …

寻根的开始从去错火车站开始. 下一班的车只有站票: 三小时的行程, 够诚心的吧?也许是自我惩罚. 已经有人问 “为什么这么蠢?!” (所以您别再问了… 咱弱小心灵的承受能力有限哈.)
A friend sent a friend to pick me up. Since we’ve never met and I’m not too bright, he printed this huge sign and held it up … it’s very comic – mind you, Hefei train station isn’t Beijing or Shanghai, not crowded at all. Actually it’s very empty, like in Ji’Nan (relatives have told me that high speed train stations in provincial cities are in general, empty). He’s very tall, a former soccer player, practically the only one in the empty hall, and holding a sign (I’m debating if I should show this picture – this is a solid prove of my IQ …) 有帅哥来接 破涕为笑😂:空旷的大厅,帅哥又是高大,加上举个牌子 … (近百里都能看到…) 情景有点好笑 …  想是朋友觉得咱的智能有问题… 不突出点怕俺看不到…

The drive to Dongzhi is two and half hours – yes, should have gone to Anqing station instead; again, my IQ is bit … An ad for men.

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As soon as we pulled into the hotel parking lot, the welcoming committee (couldn’t come up with a better name) rushed over. I was deeply moved 很感动: 帅哥司机说,局长周国良问他开什么车. 我们都有点莫名其妙. 但是一进酒店的停车场就看到欢迎的亲人… 用心良苦. A big dinner followed. After dinner, we had a little chat till the restaurant closed.

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The following day, Sunday, the whirlwind journey began, which ended on Monday.

The traffic sign below should be 应该是 Zhou Fu, not Zhoufu.
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A few random scenes of Dongzh. Some local reportage of my visits:

  • 03.14, ChizNews 池州日报 – 东至: 周馥玄外孙女张凝女士回乡寻根问祖 by 丁德芬 Ding Defen
  • 03.15, Dongzhi County  东至人民政府, 周馥玄外孙女张凝女士回乡寻根问祖 by 东宣/马民新 马特使 Ma Minxin
  • 03.15, ah.ifeng 凤凰网 周馥后裔、美国纽约自由撰稿人张凝到东至县寻根问祖 by 马民新 图/文
  • 03.16, weixin 东至县广播电视台 周馥后裔回乡寻根问祖
  • 03.16, iDongzhi 东至人网 周馥后裔、美国纽约自由撰稿人张凝到东至县寻根问祖, by 马特别使节 (你懂哈)
  • 03.21, qZone.QQ 结识一位

Mar 13 2016

The reception hall 接官厅


My ancestor Zhou Fu built two 祠堂 shrines. The main one was burned to the ground by the invading Japs during the war, and this dilapidated building was the rare hall – what was left of the second shrine. They now call it the reception hall 接官厅. Many events, indeed are held here. Near by is his home site where Zhou Fu was born and grew up and a ruined building.


Pictures below, on the L indicates this building is designated historical by the Dongzhi county in September 2007 and the R indicates this building is honored with a historical designation on March 10th, 2012 (?) by the city of Chizhou.

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Paying my respect to my ancestors, with my distant cousin (族姐周启恕) Qishu who’s the only one still lives there. Getting a group photo with my handsome chauffeur (just kidding) and courteous hosts, who volunteer their time and resources for a better tomorrow.

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A few snapshots in and out of the Reception Hall. Many slogans from the bygone era are still visible.

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The surrounding areas, then off to the Cement Dam 洋灰坝.

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Mar 13 2016

Scenes of Dongzhi

A few random scenes from my two night stay in Dongzhi, and oh man

The building is where the Zhou Culture Association has an office.

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Manhattan in Dongzhi/Chizhou, means slow pace. Interesting.


How they move around the town. The bus was near Mrs Zhou’s tomb.

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Mar 13 2016

The water reservoir 水库

The temple Tangshan Si 唐山寺 was built in this valley in Tang Dynasty (618-907), which was before the year 907. Zhou Fu rebuilt it in 1880; the mountain is named Zhou. The Zhou Ancestral Hall 周氏宗祠 moved up when the valley became a reservoir. The foundation of the temple is still visible.


I never could have taken enough photos of water. And I was thinking, yes, if this place is good for swimming.

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Above the small cliff is the Zhou Ancestral Hall 周氏宗祠.

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Mar 13 2016

Mr. Chen Qinlie 陈勤烈

From the Cement Dam we drove straight to Mr. Chen’s home. He’s the third generation, 97 years and counting, to look after my great great grandfather’s grave in the mountain, up the hill from his house, unpaid.


“Obligation” he said casually. He showed me a letter from my relative. Unfortunately, I didn’t understand their dialect well, and the hosts only translated sporadically.

His house in chengxiang Yunwukeng 石城乡 云雾坑 (35 km/21 miles southeast of Dongzhi county) is newly built and sparsely furnished. Their children are working in the cities, coming home on holidays.

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Only Mr. Chen went up the hill with us. After we came down, I insisted to invite them both to lunch at Huayuan Xiang 花园乡 (zh wiki). I didn’t think the hosts considered to include them but I was glad they made extra room for them. This is the least I could do. I thought I could pay for it but there’s no chance, then did I feel a little funny – being generous on other’s dime.

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This man must be a leader of the village, Shicun 石村 he drove off in a SUV before we departed. After lunch, we went to Tangshan Si 唐山寺.

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