Gaozong's 高宗 [r.1127-1162] selection of Hangzhou over Jiankang [Nanjing] as the [Southern Song] capital was a great error. While scholar-officials were consumed by the excesses of singing and dancing on the lake and in the hills, the affairs of state were beyond their consideration, and in the end armies were lost, rulers were poorly advised, territory was ceded and the dynasty betrayed. These matters can only make one sigh with regret.
Liu Yiqing 劉一清 (early Yuan), Qiantang yishi 錢塘遺事
Ambivalence surrounding the status of Hangzhou (Lin'an 臨安) as a capital city had been expressed long before the final collapse of the Southern Song in 1279. Many officials had, from the very beginning, felt that the city's geometric imperfections rendered it unsuitable as an imperial capital. As Nancy Steinhardt has shown, illustrations produced during the thirteenth century ignored as far as possible the city's asymmetrical reality, seeking instead to fulfil expectations of Hangzhou as being a geometrically faultless imperial space 'so that the capital [would] appear perfect for posterity.'
Later, while the city retained much of its former glory through the Yuan and Ming dynasties, there remained a sense that it was a landscape whose time had passed, and a guilty suspicion that the pleasures of the lakeside capital had indeed contributed to the neglect of the affairs of state. The Hangzhou and West Lake that were inherited by the literati of the late Ming were landscapes steeped in the history and culture of the Song, and those retrospective concerns about extravagance and excess expressed by Liu Yiqing must have sounded uncomfortably familiar to early seventeenth century visitors.
Fig.1 'Dragon Well' (Long Jing
龍井), from Yang Erzeng 楊爾曾 (fl.
1601-23) comp., Exceptional Sights Within the Seas
(Hainei qiguan 海內奇觀 ), 1609.
No late-Ming account of West Lake expresses this preoccupation with the Song-dynasty heritage of the place more than the fourteen 'Short Records of West Lake' (Xihu xiaoji 西湖小記) composed by Zhang Jingyuan 張京元 (zi Side 思德, hao Wushi 無始; fl. 1612-1624), a native of Taixing 泰興, probably towards the end of the Wanli 萬曆 reign (1573-1620). Aside from the obvious reminders, such as the Yue Fei 岳飛 (1103-1142) memorial or the site of Lin Bu's 林逋 (967-1028) former abode, many of Zhang's observations deal entirely with a cultural landscape that was no longer visible.
At Willow Islet Pavilion he imagines the Tower of Abundant Happiness that stood lakeside during the Song, but has 'long since been rebuilt'. Cold Spring Pavilion is not, for Zhang, the scene of a famous composition by the Tang poet and governor Bai Juyi 白居易 (772-846), but rather 'the place where the Song emperors enjoyed their leisure following their abdications.' And Dragon Well does not inspire a sermon on the merits of the various types of tea, but is instead 'the place where Su [Shi 蘇軾 (1037-1101)] and Mi [Fu 米芾 (1051-1107)] would come to engage in learned discussions with the monk Pratibhāna 辨才 [1011-1091].' It is this temporal dimension of his engagement with West Lake's mingsheng guji 名勝古跡, those 'sites famous for their surpassing beauty and where linger the traces of antiquity', in Duncan Campbell's formulation, which stands out here. Zhang's nostalgic representation in some ways anticipates Zhang Dai's 張岱 (1597-?1689) retrospective account of late-Ming West Lake, written in the early years of the Qing, and in this regard it is worth noting that Zhang Dai makes extensive use of Zhang Jingyuan's records in his own Xihu mengxun 西湖夢尋. [For more on Zhang Dai, see Features in this issue of China Heritage Quarterly.—Ed.]
In his recent anthropological study of tourism in the People's Republic of China since 1978, Pál Nyíri observes that 'unlike the West, where hotel nights are the most common tourism indicator, in China tourism authorities use ticket-sales data from tourist sites or "scenic spots," recognized and classified by the state, to gauge the volume of domestic tourism…. Thus, tourism in China is understood by its managers as the consumption of bounded and controlled zones.' As I have argued elsewhere, the ritual descriptive progression from one unique site (or sight) to the next is a key feature of the travel account particularly from the late Ming onwards, with many essays cataloguing the 'must-see' sites in almost gazetteer-like fashion. The very structure of Zhang Jingyuan's account—divided neatly into brief records of similar length—accentuates this suggestion of a set pilgrimage/package tour:
The shrine to Junior Guardian Yue [Fei 岳飛 (1103-1142)] faces south. It was formerly within the residential precincts, but the eunuch Sun [Long 孫隆 (d.1601)] purchased some local properties and had the way cleared so that the shrine now looks upon the water, giving it a very satisfying overview of the lake. To the right of the shrine are buried his hat and robes. With its stone gate and ornamental columns, its design is not gaudy, but elegant with the patina of antiquity.
Of Nine-li Pine Way, one can now see only one or two trees, like flying dragons reaching into the sky, imposing and majestic. Imagine the scene in former times, when myriad green trees stretched into the heavens, and the sound of wind through pine drowned out the noise of the Qiantang tides. Now, they have vanished. One fears that in another hundred thousand years, when the fields have become oceans, there will be sea snail and oyster shells on the summit of Great Northern Peak. Who then will be worrying about whether or not there are any trees?
Sheathed Light's Hermitage is at the back of Efficacious Vulture Peak. After snaking around the winding path, breathing heavily with each step, I reached the hermitage, and upon entering I sat down in a small studio. The sheer cliffs looked as though they had been pared. A spring trickles from a fissure in a rock and the water collects into a pool, in which several goldfish are kept. Sipping tea amidst the winding balustrade and the paper windows, it really felt as if we had left the mortal world behind for the Wuling spring.
Predictably though, Zhang is not impressed with all he sees. Flew Here Peak draws the inevitable criticism:
From top to bottom the peak is covered with the carvings of bodhisattvas and arhats initiated by the foreign monk Yang Lianzhenjia 楊璉眞加 [fl. 1277-1288]. He had his own image carved in amongst them, and for this mutilation of the bones of rock, this desecration of the mountain spirit, a certain magistrate had its head cut off and thrown into the river. This surely constitutes a happy outcome for both past and present.
At Stone House Cave 'some busybodies have laid out a stone couch, on which one can sit, and along the four sides are carved stone figures that look like puppets, with not a trace of elegance or refinement about them.' To an extent these comments are fairly conventional—what could be more conventional than to disparage the Yang Lianzhenjia rock sculptures?—but for the educated élite such complaints played an important role in maintaining the imagined dichotomy between literati travellers and the uneducated tourists who were rapidly filling the important sites:
The wine is more abundant than the water, and the piles of meat are higher than the hills. In spring the people are shoulder to shoulder, tripping over each other in a disorderly multitude of men and women, too busy enjoying being in the crowd to spare any thought for the landscape. Even when the peach blossoms and willow eyes wave back and forth in the east wind, the tourists never bat an eyelid.
Dharmalaksana Temple is not particularly beautiful, but the pilgrims flock to it. The [mummified] earthly remains of the long-eared monk Dīpamkara 定光 are visited by women so that they might bear sons. They all scramble to rub his head and belly, which have been rubbed so smooth that they could be mirrors.
In one sense, the Zhang Jingyuan figure must always play the part of the outsider, 'a solitary onlooker, activated…by his fleeting, but continuous and necessary, contact with the anonymous crowd' as Elizabeth Wilson has written about the nineteenth-century flâneur. For Zhang, West Lake can only truly be enjoyed in autumn, when the tourists are few, and hence 'the surpassing beauty of the lake is untainted.' Even then, the sense is very much of a landscape now five hundred years past its best.
I would like to thank the editor Geremie Barmé and my colleague Anne Gerritsen for their valuable suggestions on an earlier version of this essay.
 Liu Yiqing 劉一清, Qiantang yishi 錢塘遺事, juan 1, Shanghai: Guji Chubanshe, 1985, p.17.
 Nancy Shatzman Steinhardt, Chinese Imperial City Planning, Honolulu: University of Hawai'i Press, 1990, pp.144-47.
 For an outsider's account, see Marco Polo's evocative Yuan-dynasty description of the city's 'abundant delights, which might lead an inhabitant to imagine himself in paradise.' The Travels of Marco Polo, the Venetian, W. Marsden trans., revised and edited by Peter Harris, New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2008, p.210.
 My translations from Zhang's records are based on the text found in Qinding Gujin tushu jicheng 欽定古今圖書集成 (shanchuan dian 山川典 juan 289). An alternative version containing some minor variations is found in Lao Yi'an 勞亦安 ed., Gujin youji congchao 古今遊記叢鈔, Taipei: Zhonghua Shuju, 1961, juan 18, pp.1-5. The collection is very briefly discussed in Yin Gonghong 尹恭弘, Xiaopin gaochao yu wan Ming wenhua 小品高潮與晚明文化, Beijing: Huawen Chubanshe, 2001, pp.212-14.
 The first three Southern Song emperors had all abdicated: Gaozong in 1162; Xiaozong 孝宗 (r.1162-1189) in 1189; Guangzong 光宗 (r.1189-1194) in 1194.
 Biancai Yuanjing 辨才元淨 (1011-1091) was the abbot of Upper India Temple from 1062. His friendship with Su Shi is documented in the second part of Tian Rucheng's 田汝成 (js. 1526) West Lake gazetteer, Xihu youlanzhi yu 西湖游覽志餘, juan 14, Shanghai: Guji Chubanshe, 1998, pp.219-20.
 Duncan Campbell, 'Orchid Pavilion: An Anthology of Literary Representations,' China Heritage Quarterly, Issue 17 (March 2009), at: http://www.chinaheritagequarterly.org/scholarship.php?searchterm=017_orchidpavillion.inc&issue=017.
 Pál Nyíri, Scenic Spots: Chinese Tourism, the State, and Cultural Authority, Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2006, pp.6-7.
 Stephen McDowall, Qian Qianyi's Reflections on Yellow Mountain: Traces of a Late-Ming Hatchet and Chisel, Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press, 2009, pp.56-59, 85-88.
 Sun Long 孫隆 (d.1601) was the eunuch in charge of the imperial textile factories at Hangzhou and Suzhou, and was responsible for much of West Lake's sixteenth-century reconstruction.
 Fields becoming oceans were massive transformations traditionally associated with the start of the world.
 The allusion here is to 'Taohuayuan ji' 桃花源記, a well-known story by Tao Qian 陶潛 (365-427), in which a fisherman discovers a community living blissfully detached from the contemporary world. See Lu Qinli 逯欽立 ed., Tao Yuanming ji 陶淵明集, Beijing: Zhonghua Shuju, 1979, pp.165-67.
 On Yang Lianzhenjia 楊璉眞加 (or 伽; fl. 1277-1288) see juan 202 of the Yuan shi 元史, Beijing: Zhonghua Shuju, 1976, vol.15, p.4521. Yang, of Tibetan origin, was Supervisor of Buddhist Teachings for Jiangnan under the early Yuan, and supervised the carving of the sculptures at Flew Here Peak between 1285 and 1287. He was a generally despised figure, primarily for his role in the desecration of the Southern Song imperial tombs. See for example Zhou Mi's 周密 (1232-1298) essay 'Yang kun fa ling' 楊髠發陵 in Guixin zazhi xuji 癸辛雜識續集 juan shang (上), Siku Quanshu edition.
 Three carvings, including that of Yang, were beheaded by the Prefect Chen Shixian 陳仕賢 during the Twenty-second Year of the Jiajing reign (1543). For a discussion of the evidence surrounding this incident see Lao Bomin 勞伯敏, 'Feilaifeng Yang Lianzhenjia zao xiang Mingdai zao "zhan" shuo tanyi' 飛來峰楊璉真伽造像明代遭 "斬" 說探疑, Dongnan wenhua, 1995.1: 76-81. See also in this issue Zhang Dai, 'Searching for the Ming: West Lake Western Approaches: Flew-Here Peak', translated by Duncan Campbell, and n.34, at: http://chinaheritagequarterly.org/features.php?searchterm=028_three.inc&issue=028.
 Elizabeth Wilson, 'The Invisible Flâneur' in Sophie Watson & Katherine Gibson eds., Postmodern Cities and Spaces, Oxford: Blackwell, 1995, pp.59-79, at pp.61-62.