Travelogue: Exploring the seven treasures of Qibao
Updated 10:29, 06-Nov-2018
By Liu Zhenshuo, Megan Zhang
When you think of Shanghai, what probably comes to mind are towering skyscrapers amidst crowds of people in a bustling city. But not all of Shanghai has a metropolitan atmosphere. Nestled in the outskirts of greater Shanghai, 18 kilometers from the city's downtown area, is Shanghai's only ancient town, Qibao, which literally translates to "Seven Treasures." Once a hub for traders and scholars, this water town is now a pocket filled with history and tradition – and plenty of tourists, too. 
Qibao is a typical Chinese water town located in Minhang District, Shanghai. /CGTN Photo

Qibao is a typical Chinese water town located in Minhang District, Shanghai. /CGTN Photo

The Treasures of Qibao

What are the seven treasures that gave Qibao its name? One of them goes back to a general who was mortally wounded by an arrow. When he applied the leaf extract from a catalpa tree to his wound, the wound miraculously healed, and this 1,000-year-old catalpa tree is now one of Qibao's seven treasures. Another treasure of Qibao is an ax, and the story comes from a centuries-old bridge that kept collapsing while villagers were trying to build it. One day, during a torrential downpour, an old man went to the butcher's shop, grabbed an ax, and rammed it into the base of the bridge. For some reason, the bridge stayed upright from then on, and remains in Qibao today.
Night view of Qibao /CGTN Photo

Night view of Qibao /CGTN Photo

Puppeteering in Qibao

Today, authentic Shanghai shadow puppet theater can only be found in Qibao. These puppets are different from the ones that originate from northern China, which are usually carved and have two arms, while Qibao's puppets are paintings with only one arm. Qibao's puppets can be controlled with two sticks using one hand – think chopsticks!
This episode will be put on the air for the first time on CGTN this Sunday at 7:30 am (Beijing Time), rebroadcast at 4:30 pm, Monday 2 am and Thursday 1:30 pm. Don't miss this brand new episode of Travelogue with Min-Zhui Lee!