The owners of Shanghai Walled City homes often used poetry to decorate their entrances. That is different from the former foreign concessions, where the portals usually carry the name of the compound. A walk in the old town can thus easily become a Chinese poetry trip. Take the three characters on the back entrance of 96 Daochuan Long (倒川弄96号) for example:
Drawing Shanghai found the most elegant house of the street inhabited by two elderly people. Rest of the eight families that used to live here have already been relocated. Grandpa has become ever more welcoming, each time we visit him again. He told us that the archaic typeface used to write the three characters above his back portal is tricky and the rightmost character is not 夹 (' jiā' meaning 'in-between'), although it looks like it. A Tongji professor had once told him, what it actually meant, but his memory was playing hide and seek with him now.
Left on our own, we found out that the line may come from the tail of a poem written by Song Era poet Lù Yóu (1125–1209).( Collapse )