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Yelang Valley - a Recluse Artist's Utopia Dream

 2017-11-10    Heather    Sights    Guiyang    3158  

Quiting from his professor job, Song Peilun secluded himself in a village tucked in Guiyang, Western China's Guizhou Province. Where others saw a wasteland, Peilun saw the soil to grow his utopia dream. For the last 20 years, Peilun has been dedicated to building the stone castle of monuments, in tribute to the ancient Yelang civilization inhabited there nearly 2000 years ago.

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Peilun got his inspiration from the Crazy Horse Memorial in South Dakota during his US visit. He discovered the great similarities between the Native Americans and ethnic minorities in Guizhou, for which he decided to do something to pay tribute to this indigenous group. With his life savings, Peilun purchased nearly 50 acres of land in the mountain and started to built his vision.

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The ancient people of Guizhou embraced many unique traditions including dancing with Nuo masks. These masks were believed to hold the power to expel evil spirits. Inspired by this, Peilun engaged and trained local stone masons to assemble huge columns with Nuo masks, towering from the grassland overlooking a tranquil pond and unique courtyards. Why are stone pieces? Because wood is prone to corrupt and metal are vulnerable to rusting. Stone, abundant in the mountainous area and enduring, makes for a cheap and environmental-friendly choice.

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The castle now stretches 50 acres but is still not yet finished. Today, Yelang Valley is attracting an increasing number of curious visitors, painters and musicians. Sounds like it has gone beyond Peilun's original intention? Not necessarily, as Peilun indicates the valley is intended to be a piece of artwork with perpetual vitality for the society to finish.

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