中英对照版 2019年第2期 Osvaldo antonio moreno vega 2019-05-24
Osvaldo antonio moreno vega （智利，南京大学留学生）
Chinese-English No.2 2019 Osvaldo antonio moreno vega2019-05-24
By/ Osvaldo antonio moreno vega (a Chilean student at Nanjing University)
In the late spring and early summer of this year, I visited many places of interest in Henan Province. But what attracted me most were the cave dwellings unique to Gongyi, a city in Henan Province, because it was rare to see cave dwellings in such a plain area like Henan.
I passed by Gongyi on my way to Luoyang to see Longmen Grottoes. Along the way were some damaged cave dwellings. It somehow appeared strange to me that some people had ever lived in such a place. My Chinese friends told me that these dwellings were warm in winter and cool in summer. What an amazing place! I wanted to know more about them, so I stayed there for two days.
The locals told me that the most luxurious cave dwelling could be found in Kangbaiwan Manor, where was the residence of a famous merchant in the Qing dynasty. Hence I came there without further ado. This place gave me a full picture of a wealthy merchant’s home, including gates, stone tablets, memorial archway, etc. But what excited me most was the cave dwelling at his home where I could walk in and visit by myself.
Under the thick loess, a cave dwelling was built with bluestone, looking solid and secure. When I walked in, I felt so cool, reminding me of the phrase “warm in winter and cool in summer” that I learned on the train. This must be a good place to escape the hot summer. Here, I could imagine how people lived over a hundred years ago, but what about five hundred years ago, or earlier? Are there any cave buildings with a longer history? The locals took me to the hometown of Du Fu, a famous poet in the Tang dynasty. This scenic spot is home to the Bijia Mountain that looks like a pen holder from afar. At the foot of the mountain is a humble cave dwelling where Du Fu lived.
These are the cave dwellings kept by the scenic spot. So, do the local people still live in cave dwellings? Or do they still build such dwellings? My Chinese friends told me that with the improvement of living standards, more and more people have left their cave dwellings and lived in more comfortable buildings. But some of the elderly still prefer to live in their old houses, so some cave dwellings are still in use. I was very glad that we had found such a cave dwelling. It seemed a bit crude, but the occupants made it very clean and comfortable.
Now the cave dwelling has given its way to the high-rise. Walking in the small city of Gongyi, I could feel the prosperity here, but some regrets lingered in my heart for the gradual disappearance of these cave dwellings. Such a building does not seem so "grand", but from choosing a site to digging and to preventing the loess from falling, all of these are full of wisdom. At the thought of these, I have a high opinion of the people there.
How can we save the cave buildings? Combining the traditional style with the modern style, and the culture with development may be a way out. I was reluctant to leave here. When I saw the deserted cave dwellings again, I was thinking that maybe there is no need to regret, because with the development of history, of society, and of China, the wisdom of Chinese people remains.