Life as seen by Jason A. Rice. China based photographer.

A Walk Up Wuhan’s Moshan “Mountain”

Sculpture near Moshan along a bridge.

Sculpture near Moshan along a bridge.

Not far from my place is a “National Park” called Moshan “Mountain”. Notice the use of parentheses here?  Think of them as indications of my skepticism of their contents.

First, “National Park”. Many signs inside the park are written only with Chinese characters.  Some of these signs have an official looking logo stamped and painted into them.  The logo looks very similar to that of the US National Park system and the English on the Chinese version even states that this is a “National Park of China”.  While very scenic for an urban setting like Wuhan, I’m not sure Moshan has, in my opinion, what it takes to be stamped as an official National Park.  At first I thought it was just another Chinese rouge.  Upon some further investigation I found that it is more a first degree National Park and not in itself a national park.

Moshan is a member of a family of “National Parks” under the East Lake National Park title (aka Wuhan Donghu National Park).  I’m not really sure what constitutes a “National Park” and what does not.  For instance, is the free public swimming area in East Lake a National Park?  How about the Wuhan Institute of Physical Education (yes, WIPE)?  It is located on East Lake.  Not sure?  Neither am I.  While the scenery is nice, it does fall a little short of such a grand title.  But Moshan has the signs to prove it.

The second use of parentheses has to do with the title “Mountain”.  The title Moshan Mountain sounds odd to me for two reasons.  First, the name Moshan (磨山) implies mountain.  Shan () is the pronunciation for mountain.  So Moshan Mountain is like saying Mo Mountain Mountain.  But I have seen it referred to as Moshan Mountain in a few places and I even find myself calling it Moshan Moutain.  My acceptance must be because in China you often hear the same thing repeated twice.  Many nicknames are just the same word repeated (bao bao - means baby and is also the name of my neighbor’s cat) or doubling a word for emphasis is a popular practice (yi dian dian - means only very little of something).  So when I first physically  saw Moshan “Mountain” I thought to myself, “I want to see more mountain mountain”, or Mo Mountain Mountain if your from the city.  See my reasoning?

Let’s get back to the characters making up Moshan (磨山).  See the shan ()?  It kinda looks like a mountain.  But is very very liberally used in China.  It can represent something the size of a pitchers mound to a base camp in Nepal (see how I refrain from using the T word to keep sensors at bay) (see how I spelled sensors with an s to keep sensors at bay) (see how I just want to put in another parenthetical statement).  So if the Chinese are going to liberally use some thing like the word mountain, one of mother nature’s greatest creations, then it’s easy to slap the National Park title on every Tom, Dick and Harry Hill in the land.

The park was was a nice day out and a good way to get away from the hum of the city.  Below are a few more photos from the day.

Some take car, some take bus, some take the lift, some take the stairs.  There are many way to climb Moshan.  And like all elevated parks in China there is always a slide down.

Some take car, some take bus, some take the lift, some take the stairs. There are many way to climb Moshan. And like all elevated parks in China there is always a slide back down.

Sacrifice Alter SE View.

Sacrifice Alter SE View.

Sacrifice Alter NE View.

Sacrifice Alter NE View.

Sacrifice Alter NW View.

Sacrifice Alter NW View.

Sacrifice Alter SW View.

Sacrifice Alter SW View.

The Ying and Yang of the Sacrifice Alter.

The Yin and Yang of the Sacrifice Alter.

2 Responses Subscribe to comments


  1. David

    That background image is pretty awesome….

    Jan 24, 2011 @ 12:27 am


  2. jason

    Thanks man. This is a set of lockers at a lake in Pennsylvania. One of my favorites.

    Jan 24, 2011 @ 1:55 pm