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Shadow Play Gorge & Military Books and Precious Sword Gorge

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Shadow Play Gorge, or Bright Moon Gorge, is located about 10 km (6.2 miles) east of Nanjin Pass. Peaks rise up and the limestone slides a lot due to natural erosion, so steep cliffs and huge columns can be found everywhere in Shadow Play Gorge. 

It is so named because there are four rocks resembling the four characters from the famous Chinese novel Journey to the West: the monkey comes first, the pig with a big stomach second, followed by the Sha Monk shouldering luggage, and finally the Tang Monk riding calmly on his horse. In the evening glow, the four rocks, seen from distance, look like shadow puppets in a traditional Chinese shadow play, so it was named Shadow Play Gorge. As for its other name, Bright Moon, it comes from the name of a rock in the river. The rock is so smooth that it reflects the light of the moon at night, hence the name Bright Moon Rock.

It has long been important in connecting the Shu area (ancient name for Sichuan and Chongqing areas) and central China, so sites of ancient plank roads have been discovered here. The plank road was recorded to have been built during the end of the Spring and Autumn Period (770BC - 476BC), and was used widely in the middle of the Warring States Period (476BC - 221BC). When the first emperor of the Qin Dynasty (221-207 BC) was unifying the country, the plank roads here functioned as pathways for reinforcements of the Qin troops. Later in the Han Dynasty (206 BC - 220AD) and Three Kingdom Periods (220 - 280), the plank roads were renovated many times and played an important role in the communication between the Shu area and Central China. Even today, it is shortest access between Sichuan and Shaanxi: the Sichuan-Shaanxi Highway and the Baoji-Chengdu Railway both pass Shadow Play Gorge.

 Military Book and Precious Sword Gorge (Bing Shu Bao Jian Xia) 
As the name suggests, a military book and a precious sword were discovered in the Military Book and Precious Sword Gorge. Actually, the so called military book is an ancient hanging coffin, and the sword is a sword-shape rock. 

The four-kilometer (2.5 miles) long gorge is located at the western section of Xiling Gorge, not far from the Fragrance Stream. When cruising along the Yangtze River, you will see a "scroll" in a cave on the northern bank, which was believed to be a military book written by Zhuge Liang, the famous military counselor of the Three Kingdoms Period. Below the cave, a sword-shape rock protrudes from the cliff and points to the river. Legend has it that Zhuge Liang had hidden one of his military books and a precious sword at a steep cliff when he passed the Three Gorges. Therefore, it was named Military Book and Precious Sword Gorge.

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