Cultural records of villages and sections in Zhuhai's largest district have been preserved in the book Conditions of All Guangdong Villages -- Xiangzhou Episode of Zhuhai City. The initial draft is based on year-long surveys of the histories and cultures of 60 natural villages, eight subdistricts, and a town.
The 143,000-character draft with 240 illustrations and pictures covers 17 natural villages in Qianshan, 10 in Nanping Town, seven each in Gongbei and Wanzai, six in Jida, four in Xiangwan, and three each in Shishan, Cuixiang, and Meihua. These natural villages were established in the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) or earlier, with only a few coming into being afterward.
The survey commenced in October 2015, according to the Xiangzhou District Archives Bureau. Since then, literal, picture, and audio-video materials have been collected and sorted. These include names, geography, historical evolution, surname headstream, population, nationality, dialects, dwellings, ancestral halls, customs, genealogies, family rules, religious beliefs, relics and sites, anecdotes and legends, historical events, personages, overseas Chinese, and compatriots in Hong Kong, Macao, and Taiwan.
Shanchang Village's City God Temple [Photo courtesy gd-info.gov.cn]
The first village established is Shanchang in Cuixiang Subdistrict. The region was inhabited even before the Tang Dynasty (618-907), and the village is therefore dubbed "Origin of Culture and Economy in Zhuhai, Zhongshan, and Macao."
Beishan Village in Nanping Town is representative of those formed in the Southern Song Dynasty (1127-1279). It holds titles as State-Level Ecological Village, Most Beautiful Village of Guangdong, and Guangdong Tourism Characterized Village.
As for villages formed in the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), Qianshan had its Phoenix-Rooster Dance designated as provincial intangible cultural heritage, while Beiling of Gongbei had Yuyuan Park designated as a Zhuhai cultural relics protection site.
In the meantime, Meixi Village of Qianshan boasts a national cultural relics protection site -- the Former Residence of Chen Fang (Chun Afong) -- and the provincial-level Meixi Royal Stone Archways. Shier Village of Nanping Town has the provincial intangible cultural heritage Shatian Folk Songs. Both villages took shape in the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911).
With rapid urbanization, many historic stamps in these natural villages have disappeared or are fading away, which makes rescue and protection urgent. The survey staff interviewed many locals and consulted a large number of related documents to guarantee the accuracy of the result, according to the bureau.
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