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Cranes "return" to Yellow Crane Tower after 1,000 years
The Epoch Times
5/25/2004



Yellow Crane Tower, on Snake Hill, Wuhan City

The historic Yellow Crane Tower, located in Snake Hill, Wuhan City, dates back to 223 A.D. and has been a source of inspiration for poets, painters and writers for over 1000 years. The locals have many legends to tell about the original Yellow Crane Tower, which is said to have been surrounded by cranes in the Tang Dynasty ((618-907 A.D.). Cranes are a traditional Chinese symbol of longevity, and many famous poets in ancient China wrote about the majestic scene of cranes hovering over Yellow Crane Tower.

Yellow Crane Tower was rebuilt in 1985 after being destroyed by fire. At the nineteenth anniversary of its reopening, the management of the Yellow Crane Tower Park arranged for the cranes to return to Yellow Crane Tower after 1,000 years (in reference to the famous scene recorded 1,000 years ago). On April 26, twenty-six tamed red-crowned cranes hovered in the sky above Yellow Crane Tower. Chinese News Agency reported that the cranes could be seen between April 26 to the middle of May. Every morning and afternoon the park management will arrange for the red-crowned cranes to fly from the north gate of the tower, and fly once around Yellow Crane Tower.

The idea of “the cranes returning after 1,000 years” appeals to the many tourists who are familiar with references to this scene from the legends. The park management based their idea on folklore and legends handed down through the ages to create the scene of returning cranes.

They substituted the yellow cranes from the legends with tamed red-crowned cranes specially introduced from Heilongjiang Province. The idea to have these cranes came from many romantic and mystical stories such as “Literati Assembling,” “Poet Li Bai Putting Down His Brushpen,” “ The Visitor Riding A Crane,” etc. The cranes conjure up memories of famous poets from different dynasties, who had visited Yellow Crane Tower and written about it, such as Cui Hao (Tang Dynasty), Li Bai (Tang Dynasty), Yue Fei (Song Dynasty, 960-1279 A.D.), Lu You (Song Dynasty).
Over 1,000 years ago, Tang Dynasty poet Cui Hao wrote his famous poem, “The Yellow Crane Tower” to express his feelings of emptiness after the crane from the legend flew away and never returned to the famous tower.

“The Yellow Crane Tower” is translated as follows:

The yellow crane has long since gone away,
All that here remains is Yellow Crane Tower.
The yellow crane once gone does not return,
White clouds drift slowly for a thousand years.
The river is clear in Hanyang by the trees,
And fragrant grass grows thick on Parrot Isle.
In this dusk, I don't know where my homeland lies,
The river's mist-covered waters bring me sorrow.*


*Translation of poem obtained from Chinese-poems.com

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