Zigzag Bridges

Often when there are footbridges across ponds or lakes in China, they aren’t straight, but have many turns or bends, therefore the name “Zigzag” bridge is used most often in English. The bridge pictured is at a park we visited today. It is called a “jiuqu qiao,” meaning the “nine-bend bridge.” When we first came to China and visited the famous nine-bend bridge at the Yu Gardens in Shanghai, I was told that the bridges are made this way because the belief is that evil spirits can only go in straight lines, thus they are stopped on these bridges. Now, as I’m reading online, other possibilities are that it is because of Zen philosophy and the idea of mindfulness, to get you to slow down, pay closer attention and concentrate on the present moment. Also, according to Feng Shui, the energy moves too quickly when it goes in straight lines, so paths and bridges are made with bends to make the energy flow smoother. So, three possibilities…maybe a combination of all? I don’t have a definite answer! The aerial picture is a screenshot from Google Earth to show all the turns on the bridge, and you can see the pavilion is also in the middle of the bridge. We stopped and ate our lunch there today…very peaceful :-)