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一卷江南图 最忆是西塘

2021-09-24 21:20林泓颖
学问交流 2021年8期
关键词:西塘古镇

林泓颖

风帘翠幕,烟柳画桥,微芒的细雨里白墙墨顶隐隐约约,像是宣纸上深深浅浅晕开的墨色。很难想象江浙沪交界处,在繁华绮丽的沪杭线上,还会保存着这样一个民风淳朴的古镇,仿佛是特地为了看惯软红十丈的人准备的。作为江南六大古镇之一,西塘更是有着“梦里西塘”的美名。因此,在看似相同的水脉楼阁背后,一定有着西塘独一份的梦幻与温柔。

水是西塘之魂。在西塘古镇中,有九条河道穿境而过,把全镇划分成八个地块,故称“九龙捧珠,八面来风”。“九里湾头放棹行,绿柳红杏带啼莺”,随处可见的清澈,满足了对梦里江南水乡的一切幻想。扎根于水,西塘古镇发展出了独特的自然景观:桥多、弄多、廊棚多。

整个西塘古镇有五福桥、安仁桥、安境桥、永宁桥等11座宋代的桥,还有卧龙桥、环秀桥、五富桥、送子来凤桥等明清时期的桥。桥梁各具特色而浑然一体,使全镇既有空隙又紧密相连。这其中,环秀桥不仅是镇上最高的桥,还是古镇最重要的纽带,将“廊”和“弄”连接了起来。站在桥顶上,心境是豁然的开朗。远处码头的岸边停着一溜古朴的船只,桥墩处柳枝摇曳,树影婆娑。俯身是千年的河,聆听的是千年的水声。“江月年年望相似”,月如此,水亦如此,叫人怎能不产生出世之感?下了桥,才算一次完整的“人步彩虹过”,看到的还是船枕清波眠,便有了回到人间的实感。

环秀桥南接热闹繁华的西街,分布着各式各样、或长或短的弄堂,而西街的尽头就是最有名也是最有特色的弄堂石皮弄。它由全长68米、216块厚度仅三厘米的石板铺就,宽仅1米,被誉为“江南第一弄”。据说下雨天弄内不积水,是由于薄如皮的石板作为下水道的表皮,石皮弄因此得名。弄左右两壁梯级状山墙有6-10米高,岁月溜到这里,留下了斑驳的痕迹。回响在青石板上的足音,不知是归人还是过客。在这悠长悠长的巷陌,又有多少人幻想着迎面会走来一个撑着油纸伞的丁香一样的姑娘呢?

穿过西街,走过环秀桥,就到了一定要慢慢逛的烟雨长廊。放眼整个江南水乡,西塘的廊棚也是独一无二的建筑,是西塘最大的特色。所谓廊棚,其实就是带顶的街。西塘的街道大多有廊棚覆盖,廊棚沿河一侧有的还设有靠背长椅。择一个雨天,端一盏清茗,坐在廊棚下凭栏远望,细数自己的心跳声,一些很怀旧的心情便油然而生。关于廊棚的由来已无从考证,民间流传最广的有“为郎而盖”和“行善而搭”两个版本。但无论是寡妇感谢“郎”的救济之情还是帮助小叫花子躲雨的善良之心,廊棚能建造,绝非一家一户之功,而是每家的檐连在一起,形成了一个公共的活动空间,使行人往来无日晒雨淋之忧。这也体现出古镇居民朴实、与人为善的处事哲学。

虽然江南的雨如烟如雾,但难免会觉得有些凉。这时候来一碗热气腾腾的特色小吃便是最好。“四方食事,不过一碗人间烟火”,在西塘,最有人间烟火气息的当属陆氏馄饨。三代祖传的手艺,是名副其实的老字号。拌入鸡蛋清的馄饨皮吹弹可破,和面汤一起倒入提前勾兑好的佐料,吃起来有一种特别的温暖。西塘人还爱喝点小酒。在西塘历史上有过许多大大小小的黄酒作坊,酿造方式古朴,但保留了最正宗的味道。黄酒性和、味醇,唐代诗人张光朝到此地也要感叹“酝酒寒正熟,养鱼长食鲜”,它是交流感情,馈赠亲友的佳品。

西塘不仅有灵秀的风景、浓郁的人情味,还有独特的学问底蕴。西塘是古代吴越学问的发祥地之一,早在春秋战国时期就是吴越两国的相交之地,故有“吴根越角”和“越角人家”之称。相传春秋时期吴国伍子胥兴水利,通盐运,开凿伍子塘,引胥山(现嘉善县西南12里)以北之水直抵境内,故西塘亦称胥塘。

伍子胥肯定不会想到,自己挖建的用于兵戈之争的胥塘河在两千多年后依然健在,并且发展到今天,已经成了一笔宝贵的遗产。一脉相承的吴越学问,可以從吴侬软语里窥见一二。“吴歌越语总温柔”,西塘以田歌和越剧最为出名。田歌是中国地方宝贵的音乐学问遗产,旋律自由而清亮,内容多反映民间故事、农事活动。由西塘田歌改编的原创音乐剧《五姑娘》在第七届中国艺术节上荣获“文华奖”。越剧是中国地方戏曲艺术之一,在西塘有着众多的兴趣爱好者,他们汇聚一起成立了西塘越剧协会。每逢节日或者庙会,都会用越剧来助兴。西塘人不仅表演越剧名剧,而且还创作出了富有时代气息的新越剧。现代著名剧作家顾锡东先生便是西塘人,他的代表作越剧《五姑娘》、《五女拜寿》《汉宫怨》《陆游与唐琬》深受人们喜爱。

西塘古镇还有提倡民族气节的传统。自古道“燕赵多慷慨悲歌之士,吴越乃复仇雪恨之乡”,以推翻清代、建立民主共和政体为志的南社于1909年11月在苏州秘密成立,而发起人吴江著名诗人柳亚子,在西塘发展南社社员18人。南社主要以文字鼓吹反清革命,“欲凭文字播风雷”,与同盟会互相呼应,成犄角之势。一时京、沪、苏、浙、湘甚至南洋等地不少报纸都为南社社员所掌握。后来南社虽在大革命的浪潮中四分五裂,但西塘的一班诗友,又组织了胥社,成为南社在西塘的延伸组织。胥社成员的诗文绝大多数保留了下来,这些诗和他们的“宗师”柳亚子在西塘留下的90首诗文一起收录在西塘西园,成为西塘的千古绝唱。

“春秋的水,唐宋的镇,明清的建筑,现代的人”,是对西塘最真实的写照。一方面,古镇的历史价值和艺术价值,需要尽力去保护。西塘镇负责人冯斌在接受访问时表示:“西塘是古典,同样也是现代的,大家在保护中传承西塘的文脉。”西塘人非常注重对西塘学问的保护和传承。今天的西塘,依然完好地保存着25万平方米明清古建筑群,是目前保存最完整、面积最大的古镇,并成功列入世界学问遗产的预备清单。另一方面,古镇也在适应现代化,古与新往往能碰撞出别样的味道。每年十月底至十一月初在西塘举办的“汉服学问周”,让现代的人去还原遍地绮罗,演一场属于那个时代的繁华。白天不营业、晚上才开放的西塘酒吧一条街,将“古镇”和“现代化”两个看似相悖的概念结合在了一起。清晨享受作为一个古镇的静谧,深夜却是华灯初上,热闹非凡,而醒来,却又身处千年不变的河流街道,杨柳岸依旧是晓风残月,恍若醉梦一场。

一岸煙火一岸梦,半卷诗书半卷风。千年的历史,依然延续着的学问传统和现代的生活方式让人感受到西塘的生命依然是如此的鲜活。“梦里西塘夜未央,江南古韵意犹长”,橹声悠悠,水流匆匆,一如西塘,既快又慢地向前走去。

Xitang, a Water Town to Remember

By Lin Hongying

At the juncture of Jiangsu, Zhejiang and Shanghai lies an ancient town named Xitang, which is rustic in style. The houses are built with white walls and black titles, and in rainy days they poetically resemble black ink dripping on white paper, a spectacle rarely seen by modern city dwellers. The largest in the six ancient towns of the Jiangnan (south of the Yangtze River) area, Xitang is blessed with its own subtlety and thus hailed as “the Dreamlike Water Town”.

Waters are the soul of Xitang, which is divided into eight parts by nine rivers running across it. The limpid waters everywhere give off an impression of Xitang being a fantasy world, where bridges, lanes and roofed corridors uniquely and reasonably abound.

There are 11 bridges that were built in the Song dynasty (960-1279) and some others in Ming (1368-1644) and Qing (1616-1911). Though differing in architectural style, together they link every part of the whole county closely in a balanced way. The highest Huanxiu Bridge, which is also the most functional in town, connects the corridors and the lanes. To the south of Huanxiu bridge stands the West Street, a lively and bustling street with different lanes varying in shape and length. The best-known lane here in Xitang, or probably in the Jiangnan (south of the Yangtze River) area as a whole, is located at the end of the West Street. With an overall length of 68 meters and a width of only 1 meter, this Shipi Lane was made of 216 3-mm-thick stone plates and enclosed by 6-to-10-meter-tall ladder-shaped side walls.

Walking across the West Street and Huanxiu bridge brings you to a ceilinged corridor, where visitors are advised to linger on. The so-called “ceilinged corridor” is actually a street with roof, and it is the number one featured architecture in Xitang and the Jiangnan area. Inside those ceilinged corridors, some benches are placed at the side by the water for the sightseers to rest on while enjoying a nice cup of tea. The exact origin of the ceilinged corridor remains uncertain, yet there is one thing for sure: it is a collective feat attributed to every household, with their eaves linking with another to jointly create a public shelter for passengers. This is also an interpretation of local folks simple and easygoing characters.

For visitors, typical chilling rainy days are perfect for sight-seeing, and also perfect for having a bowl of comforting hot local snack. In Xitang, the most popular specialty is the “Lus wontons”, a three-generation-old brand. The skin of the Lus wontons is made from egg white mixture and thus extremely thin, and the hot wonton soup is well seasoned, making the whole dish taste of warmth. Xitang locals also love to drink a little wine. Throughout Xitangs history, there have been many large and small yellow wine breweries, where the wines have been brewed in an old-fashioned way to produce a most authentic flavor. The mild nature and mellow taste makes yellow wine an ideal gift for families and friends.

And Xitang certainly has more to offer than beautiful landscape and friendly local residents. A place of strategic importance on the boundary between the State of Wu (ca. 12th century BC-473 BC) and the State of Yue (2032-222 BC), it is known as the birthplace of Wu-Yue culture. It is also known for field songs and Yueju opera. Coming in free and bright melodies, field songs are a valuable musical and cultural heritage in China, which are mostly inspired by folk stories and farming activities. The musical Five Girls, adapted from Xitangs field songs, won the “Wenhua Award”, a top award for performing arts, at the Seventh China Arts Festival. Yueju opera is one of the local opera arts in China, and there are many enthusiasts in Xitang who have come together to form the Xitang Yueju Opera Association. At every festival or temple fair, Yueju opera is always performed to cheer people up. The people of Xitang not only perform famous Yueju operas, but also create new Yueju operas with modern vibes. Mr. Gu Xidong, a famous modern playwright, is a Xitang native. His masterpieces, such as Five Girls, Birthday Congratulations, Han Palace Grudge and Lu You and Tang Wan, are all very popular.

In Xitang, “there flow waters from the Spring and Autumn Period, stand towns of Tang and Song dynasties, erect buildings of Ming and Qing dynasties, and live people of modern times,” as a popular saying goes. On the one hand, the historical and artistic values of the ancient town need to be preserved by all means. Today, with 250,000 square meters of buildings from Ming and Qing dynasties remaining intact, Xitang is deemed as the most complete and largest ancient town in terms of preservation, and has been included in the reserve list of World Cultural Heritage.

On the other hand, the ancient town is also adapting to modernization. The “Hanfu Culture Week”, held in Xitang from the end of October to the beginning of November every year, allows modern people to approach a prosperous and luxurious lifestyle back to sometime around the Han dynasty (202 BC-220 AD). The Xitang Bar Street, shut down during the day while open for business at night, reconciles the seemingly contradictory concepts of “ancient town” and “modernization”.

Xitangs cultural traditions have survived thousands of years, and will bloom for years to come, while the local lifestyle with a touch of modernness proudly speaks for the lively and vivid side of the historical place.

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