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The Jialing Basin
|Literal meaning||Excellent Mound River|
The Jialing in Hechuan, Chongqing
The Jialing River,[a] formerly known by numerous other names, is a tributary of the Yangtze River with its source in Gansu province. It gets its name from its crossing the Jialing Vale in Feng County of Shaanxi.
The Jialing River's most notable characteristic was formerly its pellucid green waters. It is also notable for its sinuous course. From Zhangwang Miao (Temple of Zhangfei) in Guangyuan to Longdongtuo in Hechuan, the distance as the crow flies is only slightly more than 200 kilometres (120 mi). However the river itself travels over 600 kilometres (370 mi). The most tortuous part of its course is between Nanchong and Wusheng.
The name Jialing did not come into general use until the Tang Dynasty. Before that, it was generally known as the Ba, although it also appears as the Lang and Yu as well. In the 19th century, it was known by the Sichuanese as the Small or Little River,[b] by comparison with the Jinsha and Yangtze.
The Jialing River is 1,119 kilometres (695 mi) long. Its sources were formerly thought to lie in Gansu but apparently now lies in Aba Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous Prefecture in Sichuan. The middle course is between Zhaohua and Hechuan. Below Hechuan to where it joins the Yangtze in Chongqing is the lower reaches of the river.
There are large number of tributaries along the Jialing. The largest tributaries include Fu River (also known as Sui He) and Qu River, both of which flow into the Jialing at Hechuan, a small city in Chongqing Municipal area.
An amazing total of 151 species of fish inhabit the river, of which 51 species are endemic to the Yangtze River.
The Han and Jialing basins were the heartland of the ancient state of Ba, whose major cities were located at the sites of their tributaries' confluences. The Jialing assumed greater importance when Chu expanded up the Han during the 5th and 4th centuries BC.
The Jialing figures in one of the legends surrounding the Tang-era artist Wu Daozi. During the Kaiyuan Era of the Emperor Xuanzong, Wu was commissioned to depict the course of the Jialing and sent to Sichuan to travel its length for the work. Supposedly, he returned to the imperial palace and completed it in a single day from memory. It is sometimes added that his technique was foiled by Li Sixun, who accompanied him and followed the traditional practice of working slowly from numerous prepared sketches. To the extent that it is grounded in a real event, however, it probably only reflects Wu's speed of execution and not a lack of reliance on sketches.
Around 1880, four out of Chongqing's 24 shipping guilds were concerned with shipping along the Jialing. Chongqing, Lingshi, Lezhi, and Hechuan all developed shipyards. In the 1920s, five of Chongqing's eight ferry guilds plied routes across the Jialing.
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- Chabrowski (), p. 80.
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