Qingyuan arcade bridges
Lanxi Bridge in Qingyuan county, Zhejiang province. [Photo/IC]
Wooden arcade bridges are often found in East China's Fujian and Zhejiang provinces. They are used not only for transportation but also as gathering places to socialize or worship on special occasions.
The "traditional design and practices for building Chinese wooden arch bridges", written by UNESCO on the List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding in 2009, refers to traditional architectural tools, traditional craftsmanship, "beam-weaving" technology, and mortise and tenon joints. The techniques have been passed on orally or through personal experience from generation to generation.
Qingyuan county in southwestern Zhejiang has more arcade bridges than any other county in China. China has a total of 754 arcade bridges, as many as 97 of which are located in Qingyuan.
The county's arcade bridges were built in a variety of ways during different time periods, including the Song Dynasty (960-1279), Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368), Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), and Qing Dynasty (1644-1911). This diversity in architectural styles and time periods is rarely seen in other places in the country.
Rulong Bridge, built in Qingyuan in 1625, is China's oldest surviving wooden arcade bridge with a known construction date. The bridge boasts an elegant exterior and complex craftsmanship. It is the only wooden arcade bridge under national-level protection for its artistic, historic, and scientific value.