Field inspection to trace historical remains of poet Su Shi in Hainan

Over the weekend, a group of experts and scholars conducted a two-day field research to trace the historical "footprints" of Su Shi, a cultural giant of the Song Dynasty (960-1279), in Lingao county, northern Hainan province.

Experts interviewed local villagers about the hydrological and road changes in Lingao during the field trip. [Photo provided to]

Su Shi (1037-1101), also called Su Dongpo, is a prominent figure in Chinese classic literature known for his achievements in poetry, prose, calligraphy, painting and even gastronomy. However, he was relegated and exiled several times for being involved in political factions.

Experts read the texts of an inscription engraved on ancient stone in Lingao during the field textual research. [Photo provided to]

In 1097, Su was demoted to Danzhou, northwestern Hainan island and spent three years there. Though a low point and the last top of his political career, Su reached the peak of his life with top achievements in both literature and ideology, which made him an outstanding representative of the Chinese culture, according to Chinese experts.

An ancient well believed to be dug by Su Shi when passing through Lingao on his way to Danzhou. [Photo provided to]

In recent years, experts of Su Studies from around the country have conducted multiple textual research and made concentrated efforts in the research of historical documents and remains of Su Shi in Hainan, in a bid to drive systematic studies and pass on the Dongpo culture.

The Su Studies in China has extended from Su's literary works to a much wider boundary, including Su's concepts and thoughts on governance, people-oriented thought and a philosophical attitude to life.

According to experts with the China Su Shi Research Association, overseas scholars from the United States, Canada, South Korea, Japan, Singapore and Australia have also shown growing interest in the Su Studies, especially Su's thoughts on governance and philosophical attitude toward life.

Part of a temple that was believed once visited by Su Shi when passing through Lingao to Danzhou. [Photo provided to]

Experts believe that greater efforts to explore the unique value of Dongpu culture under the new era will help better carry forward the essence of fine Chinese traditional culture.

They added that the construction of the Hainan Free Trade Port requires a corresponding strong cultural background. Innovative research and promotion of Su Shi culture and his philosophical concepts on social development will make Su a new symbol of culture in Hainan. The efforts will also build a key link between Hainan's folk culture and its tourism resources, boosting rural vitalization and development of Hainan as an international tourism consumption destination.

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