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黃鶴樓傳說 Legend of Yellow Crane Tower

所屬名錄: 第三批國家名錄

編號: I-105

申報地區或單位: 湖北省武漢市武昌區

Inscribed list: National List, Third Batch

Inventory no.: I-105

Nominating unit(s): Hubei Province, Wuhan City, Wuchang District








The Yellow Crane Tower is located in present day’s Wuchang district, in Wuhan city. The Yellow Crane Tower is one of the Three Great Towers of China. The original tower is believed to have been built in AD223.  The tower has been destroyed and rebuilt several times, and the current tower was rebuilt in 1985. The modern Yellow Crane Tower has five floors built of reinforced concrete.


There are several versions of legends related to the Yellow Crane Tower. One legend says the Yellow Crane Tower was first built for military purposes during the Three Kingdom period. In other versions, the legend of Yellow Crane Tower relates to immortals, most of ten with the inclusion of a yellow crane. According to the Book of Qi, there was an immortal named Wang Zi’an who rode away from Snake Mountain on a yellow crane, and the Yellow Crane Tower was built to commemorate this event. Another story from Baoyinglu(報應錄) is more detailed. It talks about a man named Xin who made a living by running a small tavern. He met a man wearing ragged clothes who asked for wine. Xin offered a bowl of wine for the man and did not charge him for the wine. The poor man continued to come every day and ask for wine, but Xin never rejected him and did not feel any impatience towards this man in ragged clothes. He gave him a bowl of wine each time without charging him. One day, the poor man apologized to Xin for owing him money for the wine. He said he had no money to pay, but took out an orange peel and used it to draw a yellow crane on the wall, and then clapped his hands and sang. The crane on the wall came off the wall and started to dance. All the other people in the tavern were amazed, and were willing to pay for this performance. The man told Xin that whenever he clapped his hands, the crane would come off the wall and dance. Xin subsequently earned a lot of money by showing this performance to an audience. After ten years, the came to see Xin again. Xin told him that he was willing to support the poor man for the rest of his life but the man only smiled and said that he did not come for this. He took out a flute and played some music. Clouds then descended from the sky and the crane came off the wall. The man rode on the crane and flew with the clouds towards the sky. Xin built up a tower and named it Yellow Crane Tower to express his gratitude to the man and commemorate him. There is another version for this story. In another version of the tale, Xin had become greedy after ten years and when the man came back he felt disappointed. At the end, he rode on the yellow crane to the sky. Xin felt regret and built up a Yellow Crane Tower to honor the man and his crane. There also other legends related to the Yellow Crane Tower from other books like E’zhou Tujing(鄂州圖經), which mentioned an immortal called Fei Yi who rode on a yellow crane and passed through Snake Mountain to take a rest, and a tower was built to commemorate this event.  It is thought that Fei Yi might have been a politician of Shu Han during the Three Kingdoms period.


Apart from being mentioned in legends, the Yellow Crane Tower has also been a popular topic in poetry. The poem by Tang dynasty Cui Hao(崔顥) is one of the most famous poems about the tower. The line ‘Long ago one’s gone riding the yellow crane, all that remained is the Yellow Crane Tower’ (昔人已乘黃鶴去,此地空餘黃鶴樓) is very familiar to many people, and recalled by them when talking about the Yellow Crane Tower. Another poem is by the ‘immortal poet’ Li Bai (李白) from the Tang dynasty, titled “Seeing off Meng Haoran for Guangling at Yellow Crane Tower” (黃鶴樓送孟浩然之廣陵). The tower is mentioned in the line, ‘My old friends said goodbye to the west, here at Yellow Crane Tower, in the third month’s cloud of willow blossoms. He’s going down to Yangzhou’ (故人西辭黃鶴樓,煙花三月下揚州).  There is also a story about Li Bai and Cui Hao.  It is said that Li Bai had climbed up the tower and wanted to wrote a poem about it. However, when he saw the poem by Cui Hao he found that it was hard to write another one better than his poem. At last he wrote down a limerick, “Breaking down the Yellow Crane Tower with a punch, kicked over Yingwuzhou with two legs. The scenery on the front is hard to describe, because of the poem by Cui Hao left on the top” (一拳擊碎黃鶴樓,兩腳踢翻鸚鵡洲。眼前有景道不得,崔顥題詩在上頭).


Besides Cui Hao and Li Bai, many other poets had also played homage or made reference to the Yellow Crane Tower in their poetry. With all these mysterious legends and amazing poetry, the Yellow Crane Tower has become a renowned historical architectural structure of China. In 2011, the legend of Yellow Crane Tower was included on the third batch of the National List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of China.


視頻 Video(s):

《国宝档案》 20160927 天下名楼——悠悠千载黄鹤楼 | CCTV-4

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