Baoping, near the city of Yichang, Hubei Province, is a charming
little village that has been preserved as much as possible in its
original state in order to honor the memory of a woman who was born
here and who became famous for her beauty: Wang Zhaojun. Wang
Zhaojun was married off by the Han Chinese emperor to a Hun
chieftain as a pawn in an imperial game of chess designed to divide
and conquer the Hun enemies.
A section of the village gate of Baoping is in the form of a
platform made of earth, on which a door is engraved with the
Chinese characters "Shu Zhuang Tai" ("dressing table"). It is said
that this is the place where Wang Zhaojun used to sit for her
morning washing. The present-day platform has an added canopy, with
stone tables and stools beneath it where visitors may pause for a
rest – and perhaps to primp a bit at such an auspicious locale.
Nearby the village gate is the former dwelling of Wang Zhaojun,
which had fallen into disrepair but which has since been restored
to its original glory. The entrance-way to the house is marked by a
palatial gate tower. The house itself is tall, full of rooms with
high ceilings, and with winding corridors.
A large garden park surrounds the house, with a terraced flower
garden displaying hundreds of flowers, which, in season, blossom
luxuriantly. Prominently placed in the garden park is a
three-meter-high figure of Wang Zhaojun made of white marble, a
later gift to the natal village of Wang Zhaojun by the city of
Hohhot, capital of present-day Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region,
but territory that was ruled by Huns, Altaic forbears of the
Mongolians, during the life and times of Wang Zhaojun.