How to visit Qintai Road, Qintai Street Chengdu

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Plan your Chengdu tour? Qintai Road or Qintai Street is a well known attraction in Chengdu It is a gentrified street built in the styles of Ming and Qing dynasties (1368 – 1911). “Qintai” literally means “Musical Instrument Platform”. The road is named “Qintai” in commemoration of Sima Xiangru and Zhuo Wenjun whose ancient love story has been lingering for over 2000 years.

The love story went back to the Western Han Dynasty ( 202 BC – 08 AD) about 2,200 years ago. In a small town near Chengdu, Zhuo Wenjun was a pretty girl from from a wealthy family. Unfortunately she became a widow when she was very young.

Sima Xiangru was a poor scholar well versed in music and essy writing. One day Sima Xiangru had chance to meet Zhuo Wenjun. At the dinner time, Sima Xiangru used a piece of music to express his sincere love to her by playing a stringed music instrument. Zhuo Wenjun fell in love with him too. But her parents didn’t agree because Sima Xiangru was still a penniless scholar.

So the lovers fled secretly. They came to the western of Chengdu ( the present Qintai Road) where they run a pub to make a living. It is recorded that Sima Xiangru sold liquor while Zhuo Wenjun cleaned cups. At the same time, Sima Xiangru never gave up studying. Not long, Sima Xiangru passed the imperial examination in Chang’an, the capital of the Han Empire. Sima Xiangru left for Chang’ An (the present Xian ) and Zhuo Wenjun remained in Chengdu.

Sima Xiangru got a good job in Chang’an and moved quickly to a higher position in the court. His wife Zhuo Wenjun had waited for five years, but Xima Xiangru didn’t come back to see his wife and his family.  One day, Zhuo got a letter from her husband to the effect that Xima Xiangru wanted to have a concubine in Chang’an. Zhuo was totally depressed.

She wrote back a letter to Sima Xiangru. In her letter she penned a famous poem reminding him of their past love and describing her longing for reunion. After reading her letter, Sima Xiangru felt much ashamed. He gave up the idea of having a concubine. In addition, he himself drove a four-horse carriage back to Chengdu and took his wife to Chang’an for their final reunion.

Qintai Road is 570 meters long and was opened to the public December 30, 2002. You cannot find the ancient quite street during Zhuo Wenjun’s time. Instead, the ancient buildings are lined on the both sides of the road focused on the theme of the love story between Sima Xiangru and Zhuo Wenjun – a great amount of stone carvings, wood carvings and copper carvings which showcase the custom in Western Han Dynasty in terms of music, banquets and etiquette.

The night scene at Qintai Road is fantastic! The north arch entrance to Qintai Road.

The north arch entrance to Qintai Road

The Qintai Road at night

The Qintai Road at night

The Copper Horse Carriage

The Copper Horse Carriage

Jewelry Store

Jewelry Store

Splurge Restaurant

Splurge Restaurant

Walking along Qintai Road

Walking along Qintai Road

Any questions, just drop a line.

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