Bawu Gorge
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Bawu Gorge

Bawu Gorge

You can faintly see some coffins in the cracks and caves on the impending cliffs of the Lesser Three Gorges. Some of them are just tens of meters above the ground while the others are hundreds of meters above the ground. Those coffins are the unsolved mystery of hanging coffins of Three Gorges.

Bawu Gorge - Hanging Coffins and Legend

Hanging coffin burial is a traditional funeral way for the Pu people in Daning River Area about 2000 years ago. It is said that there was a group of Ba people lived in Zhongli Mountain of Hubei province. They got up and started work at sunrise and went to bed at sunset. They worked very hard but gained little. They lived a really arduous life. Then a dignified great fellow (he is the leader of Ba people – Bawuxiang in the later legend) walked out from Zhongli Mountain. He guided the people cultivated wasteland for cultivation on the two sides of Daning River. He was broke down from constant overwork and finally passed away.

Ba people took Bawuxiang as an incarnate of God and thought he should back to the heaven. Then they decided to bury him on the top of the mountain. But they met an accident when they brought his coffin up to the top of the mountain. The coffin dipped to the impending cliff and was held by a rosy cloud. Just as a ship sailed in the harbor, the coffin sailed into a red cave halfway up the mountain. Since then the hanging coffin burial was gradually spread. According to the record of Tang Dynasty: the Pu people would spend all his property to make a coffin for his parents after they were dead and dig a cave half way up the mountain facing the water, then put the coffin in the cave with suspended cable. Hang the coffin higher means more filial for Ba people.

Bawu Gorge - Hanging Coffin of Bawu Gorge

On a tawny impending cliff on the eastern bank of the Bawu Gorge, there is a rectangular cave about 400-500 meters above the ground. There is a pitch black coffin in the cave. And it is the famous Hanging Coffin. A Hanging Coffin Observatory was built across the river. Visitors could get off the ship and up to the observatory to have a look at the Hanging Coffin of Bawu Gorge with a powerful telescope.

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