Hainan Island, Su’s Edge of the World

Hainan is located in the South China Sea, separated from Guangdong’s Peninsula to the north by the shallow and narrow strait. Hainan  literally means “South of the Sea”. It is very close to Vietnam and not far from the Philippines and Taiwan. (See map on left).

The Chinese characters of Heaven’s Edge(Middle) and Ocean’s Corner (Left) are written on rocks at the beach, it is a popular photo stop for tourists.

Hainan Map Heaven's Edge Ocean's Corner

Landscapes of Hainan include the Five Finger Hill (below left),beaches (middle) and coconut trees.

Five Finger Hill Hainan Island with beach scene Dense Betel Nut Grove

Hainan Island first entered written Chinese history  in 110 BC, when Han Dynasty established a military garrison there. Mainland Chinese mostly from the southern coastal provinces Guangdong, Guangxi and Fukian along with military personnel and officials began to migrate to Hainan Island. Among them were the offspring of those who were banished to Hainan for political reasons.

People tend to associate Hainan Chicken Rice with Singapore, but it is a Hainan dish.

Hainan Chicken Rice

Su’s Relics in Hainan include a Dong Po College or Study Hall. Below are Su’s Statue (outside the Hall). The left painting of Su in bamboo hat and sandals interacting with local women and children and dogs are  documented in his poem.

Do Po Statue in front of Dong Po College Su with women children and dogs in Hainan

Hainan’s local produce mentioned in Su’s poetry and prose include betel nuts and sinking aromatic wood or aloeswood.

betel nut fruits Sinking Aroma Wood

He also wrote about the local customs of sacrificing cows to cure illness. Below is a photo of Miao’s buffalo head rituals.

Miao people with buffalo heads


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