Tongji Bridge locates in Changcheng District, Foshan. Tongji Bridge has a long history with significant meanings in Foshan. It is the first large wooden bridge built in Foshan. It goes across the Luoshui River, connecting to the Beilian Jinyu Street.
History of Tongji Bridge
According to the research, Tongji Bridge was firstly built in the Ming Dynasty by the local villagers. It was rebuilt three times separately in 1559, 1568 and 1581 of Ming Dynasty. In 1626, Li Shiwen, the head of the Ministry of Revenue, once again initiated a fundraising renewal work. He also named it as "Tongji Bridge", meaning "being smooth and going well". The proverb, "Tongji, no closure" is well known in Foshan. There is an old saying that people will have no worries or sorrows if passing the bridge.
After 1949, the roads in Foshan were expanded many times. The river under the Tongji Bridge was adjusted to a hidden ditch and the bridge deck was changed to a wide road. The "bridge" could not be found in this area for a long time.
In order to protect the cultural heritage and promote the traditional culture, Foshan government spent 17 million Chinese yuan to restore Tongji Bridge in 2001. The new Tongji Bridge remains the beautiful architectural style with profound cultural deposits.
Features of Tongji Bridge
Tongji Bridge is 32 meters long and 9.9 meters wide. The stones at both ends of the bridge are decorated with a windmill, the auspicious clouds and bats, reflecting the folk customs of Tongji Bridge. The bridge is sculpted with the artifacts that Eight Immortals held when they crossed the sea in the legend, which shows people’s wishes to eliminate disasters and pray for peace. On the top of the bridge pier, the sculpture is shaped as a fruit basket on the elephant’s head with pumpkins and peaches.
Every year on Lantern Festival of the lunar month, people in Foshan will come to participate in the “Tongji Passage” activity together. This custom started since the late Ming Dynasty, which has continued for more than 400 years. Every family will come out together, from early morning to late night, holding the windmill, shaking the wind chime, and will walk through the Tongji Bridge from north to south.
Tongji Bridge reflects the folk customs of Lingnan cultures and the Chinese traditional blessing culture. These cultures exist in the deep minds of local people in the Pearl River Delta for a long time.