Jihong Bridge spans over the Lancangjiang River at
the place where Shuizhai Township of Baoshan City connects with
Shanyang Township of Yongping County. It is the first chain bridge
constructed in this province.
According to historical accounts, the place where
the bridge spanned was called "Lanjin Ferry" in olden times.
Emperor Wudi of the Han Dynasty sent an expedition to explore the
land inhabited by the Southwestern primitive tribes by way of the
Bonan Route and Lanjin Ferry. The Han soldiers mainly followed the
route crossing this bridge. Lanjin was originally a ferry for
boats and rafts; later a bridge of rattan and bamboo was made and
still later replaced by one of wood. The extant chain bridge was
constructed in the 11th year of the Chenghua era of the Ming
Dynasty (1475) and was named "Jihong Bridge". It is in fact 17
chains fixed on the opposing east and west cliffs, stretching over
the river. The bridge surface is a present formed of 15 connected
chains, with a span of 60 m. Every chain has 176 links, each 0.33
m. long and 3.9 kg. in weight. The surface is paved with wooden
boards for travelers' passage.
On the east bank (within the precincts of Yongping
County) there stands a pavilion for the Imperial Inscription in
nobel dimensions, with a golden horizontal board bearing the
inscription of Emperor Kangxi of the Qing Dynasty: "A Rainbow
Extending to the Other Bank". Beside this structure is the Martial
Marquis's Temple (Wuhou Ci), which once enshrined Zhuge Liang's
gilded statue. On the west bank (within the precincts of Baoshan
City) is Avalokitesvaras Pavilion. These structures are either
built over the cliffs or on the steep slopes, presenting a
marvelous view. The famous Italian traveler Marco Polo and the
Ming Dynasty's traveller Xu Xiake as well as the Ming Dynasty's
Emperor Yongli, etc. all visited this bridge. On the stone walls
of the west bank not a few carved inscriptions are left by the
literati of the successive historical periods, such as "A
Marvelous Crossing from Cliff to Cliff, "A Rainbow Flying Over the
River", "Key Pass to the Southern World", and "Golden Teeth
Screening the Throat", etc.
It is already over 500 years since the construction
of the bridge, a space of 200 years earlier than the world-famous
Luding Chain Bridge over the Daduhe River, which was constructed
in the 44th year of the Kangxi era of the Qing Dynasty or 1705.
Therefore it is also called the First Bridge in Southwest China,
having rather high value for the study of the history of bridge
construction in this country. It is one of the provincial cultural
relics under enhanced protection.