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Ox Liver and Horse Lung Gorge

Two ochre rocks hang overlapping from the sheer cliff on the north bank a little distance down from Xintan Shoal . One appears like an ox liver , and the other a horse lung . Hence the name "Ox Liver and Horse Lung Gorge" for this section of the Xiling . Formerly the Horse Lung had a pine tree growing on it like a soldier guarding the spot , and it serves as a sort of natural navigation aid for the boats cruising by .
For centuries , these weird-shaped rocks have been a scenic sight . In the Guangxu reign (1875---1908) of Qin Dynasty , however , the imperialist gunboats intruding into this part of China bombarded the Horse Lung , destroying the lower half of it . Indignant at this barbarous act , Guo Moruo (1892---1978) , an outstanding scholar who visited Xiling Gorge more than once , wrote in a poem :
      The "Military Book and Sword " remains as it is ,
      While the "Ox Liver and Horse Lung " condemns the invaders .
The north bank here also highlights a rock in the form of a phoenix whose beak extends towards the shore . During the flood season , this mythical "bird" raises columns of waves with its prolonged beak . The spray flying metres high glistens under the sunshine like so many flowing multi-coloured ribbons . Opposite the "Phoenix" is another rock of a bizarre shape lying atop a towering peak . It looks like a warrior riding a horse . Hence the name "Warrior-Horse Rock" . People refer to these two rocks together , calling them "Zhang Xiao Chases the Phoenix" . Legend runs that , in ancient times , a phoenix was pecking away at the wheat crops here . A young warrior , Zhang Xiao , who was chasing the bird arrived on horse back . The bird flew to the other bank to become a green ridge , whereupon Zhang was petrified into human figure watching the "bird" from his horse .

Now, with the rising of the water storage of the Three Gorges Dam Project, the two historic rock formations have been submerged. Sadly, visitors will no longer be able to admire them but they may imagine the scene of 'a smooth lake rises in the narrow gorge'.


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