Du Fu's Thatched Cottage (Dufu caotang) is the quaint former residence of one of China's most famous poets. Du Fu (712-70 AD) left home at the tender age of 20, becoming a court official at the former capital in Chang'an (near Xi'an). Du Fu's civil service duties did not last long however, and he was captured by rebels and forced to flee the city for Chengdu after only a few years. It was in Chengdu, at this small and simple house, that Du Fu was inspired to write more than 200 poems which are regarded today as masterpieces of realist poetry.
Du Fu actually achieved something of a cult status for himself and even today, numerous poets and artists site the great man's work as inspirational. The themes of Du Fu's work are simple, and he talks in length about the social and living conditions of his society . Perhaps the most important thing of all about this great man's work, was that it was compassionate. This was especially inspirational given that there was such a lack of sympathy and concern elsewhere in society at this time.
In memory of the great poet, temples and pavilions were added to the site during the Song Dynasty. The exhibits here include a brief account of Dufu's life and some of his original calligraphy and poems. The complex also contains three imposing statues of some of China's greatest poets; Du Fu, Li You and Huang Tingjian (the latter two were Song dynasty poets). Today, this is a pleasant site to visit, with nice buildings dotted about, teahouses and pleasant bamboo gardens to wander and explore. This site is also home to the Chengdu Du Fu society.
Address: The cottage is situated off Xi Yihuan.
Opening hours: Daily 9:00-17:00.
Tours to the Du Fu's Thatched Cottage