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Bellows Gorge

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Bellows Gorge is located about 2 km downstream from Baidi City. When cruising in the valley, you will see a steep tawny cliff without any greenery on the northern side of the Yangtze River. There, in one of the gaps on the surface of the cliff, is laid a wooden box. People believed the wooden box was a bellows that belonged to Lu Ban, the famous carpenter of the East Zhou Dynasty (770 BC - 221 BC), thus they called the valley Bellows Gorge.

The wooden box, actually, was not Lu Ban's bellows, but a hanging coffin of the ancient Ba people (has a history of 4,000 years). Hanging coffins were a part of the funeral custom this area of Sichuan. One possible reason for this custom is that ancient people believed that they would fly to heaven or ride on clouds as the immortals after their death, so they hung coffins on cliffs or partially in caves on cliffs to get closer to the heaven. However, it is still a mystery how they raised the coffins up to the caves on cliffs as there were no ladders or paths leading to the caves.

The coffins in Bellows Gorge are in a cave located at the cliff and very difficult to access, so it has always attracted explorers. It is said that during the Qing Dynasty (1644 - 1911), someone managed to climb to the cave and retrieve some wooden objects. In order to show respect to the immortal, the local government in Fengjie compelled him to put it back. The mystery was not uncovered until 1977, when two people climbed to the cave on their way to collecting herbs. The so called "bellows" are actually coffins of the Warring States Periods (476BC - 221BC) or the Qin (221BC - 207BC) and Han (206BC - 220) Dynasties. There were also bronze swords, bronze axes, wooden scabbards, and straw sandals, and metal currency of the early Han Dynasty, which are now kept in the Baidi City Museum. 

 Armor Cave 
On the cliff of southern bank of the Bellows Gorge, another cave storing coffins has been discovered. Locals believing that the cave was used to keep the armor of the female general Mu Guiying of the Song Dynasty (960 - 1279), named it Armor Cave. The cave is about 100 meters (328 feet) above the river surface and 70 meters (229 feet) below the top of the cliff. In 1985, archaeologists found no armors but two wooden coffins in the cave. At the same time, a 25-centimeter bronze sword and a wooden comb (only 5 centimeters of the comb remains) of the ancient Ba people have been discovered and now are kept in the Baidi City Museum.

 Rhinoceros Looking at the Moon 
Cruising along the Bellows Gorge to its lower segment, you will see a huge rock resembling a rhinoceros raising its head and looking attentively at the moon on the top of the mountain at the northern bank of Yangtze River. With the background of blue sky, the "rhinoceros" looks like a silhouette hanging in the gorge.

How can people be so sure that the "rhinoceros" is looking at the moon rather than the sun or a star? This comes from a Chinese legend. Long ago, the rhinoceros was an immortal of heaven. According to the order of the Jade Emperor, the rhinoceros came to the world of man to deliver a regulation for daily life: eat one meal and dress three times a day. However, the rhinoceros was led astray by the fancy world and mistook the regulation to mean eat three meals and dress once a day. The Jade Emperor was very angry with the rhinoceros and relegated it to the world of man. The rhinoceros missed life in heaven so much that it kept looking at the moon every night.

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