Shibaozhai represents one of the gems of Chinese architecture along the banks of Yangtze River.From after,the protruding 220-meter(720-foot) hill on the north bank can appear to resemble a jade seal,and is so named.The creation of the hill is attributed to the goddess Nuwo,who caused a rockslide while she was redecorating the sky after a fierce battle between two warring dukes.
A red pavilion hubs one side of this rock.Its tall yellow entrance gate is decorated with lions and dragons and etched with an inscription inviting the visitor to ascend into a Little Fairyland.The temple at the top was built during reign of the Emperor Qianlong(1736-1796) and access to it was by an iron chain attached to the cliff. A nine-storeyed wooded pavilion was added in 1819 so that monks and visitors to the temple would not have to suffer the discomforts of the chain ascent.In 1956 three more storeys were added.Each floor is dedicated to the famous generals of the Three Kingdoms period(AD220-65),local scholars and renowned Chinese poets.The rising waters of the river will eventually surround the pagoda,which will a tiny dam of it's own,but left on an island.In front of Ganyu Palace at the top of the Jade Seal Hill is the Duck Hole.It is said that as spring turns into summer,if you take live duck and drop it through the hole,it will quickly reappear swimming in the Tangtze.In the past the monks apparently drew their drinking water from this hole by using a pipe made of bamboo.The spirit wall,in the temple's main hall is constructed of excavated Han-dynasty(203BC-AD220) bricks.the hall behind it dedicated on the right to General Zhang Fei and Yan Yan of the Three Kingdoms,and on the left to General Qin Liangyu(1576-1648) who fought bravely against the Manchu forces.A mural shows the goddess Nuwo repairing the sky.
In the rear hall are the remains of the Rice Flowing Hole.Legend has it that long ago just enough husked rice would flow up from the small hole each day for the needs of the monks and their guests.One day a greedy monk,thinking he could become rich chiseled a bigger hole and the rice flow ceased forever.
The top temple was built during the reign of Emperor Qianlong. Visitors can climb to the top by spiral staircase in the pagoda. At the stone terrace 1200 square meters of on the top, visitors can gain a panoramic view of the winding river, the village and the countryside. There are two unusual interesting features of the Shibaozhai fortress. The first is the Duck Well. It was said that during late spring, if you dropped a duck down the hole, it would quickly reappear swimming in the Yangtze River. The second feature is The Rice Flowing Well in the rear hall. Legend has it that long ago just enough husked rice would flow from the small hole each day for the needs of the monks. one day a greedy monk chiseled a bigger hole in the rock, thinking he would get more rice, but the flow of rice ceased forever.
After the water level rises because of the Water Storage of Three Gorges Project, part of Shibaozhai can be submerged. Thanks to a wise decision to protect the relic, it has been well preserved after a series of measures.