Iron Lock Pass (Tie Suo Guan)

On the northern bank of Qutang Gorge, opposite the Meng Liang Stairway, there is a small branch of the Yangtze River, called Caotang River. Just at the place where the Caotang River flows into the Yangtze River, there is a huge stone bearing two iron posts. On the southern bank, there is a stone hole. In ancient times, people threaded iron chains between the posts and the hole in order to block the Yangtze River and prevent the intrusion of the enemy. This is called the Iron Lock Pass.

The Iron Lock Pass was firstly constructed during the Tang Dynasty (618 - 907). In the Song Dynasty (960-1279), a general called Xu Zongwu once built seven Iron Lock Passes in order to prevent the intrusion of the army of the Yuan Dynasty (1271 - 1368). It is said that, the two iron posts remaining were consecrated by General Xu. Besides blocking out enemy, the Iron Lock Pass was also used as a toll-gate for collecting tax from the commercial ships passing the Yangtze. Now there are no chains across the river. The two seven-foot-high iron posts have been rusty for years. Besides the posts, there are inscriptions from the Yuan Dynasty caved onto the rock.

Legend about the Iron Lock Pass

Yu the Great, also known as Dayu, is regarded as an ancient hero for his great contribution in controlling flood in prehistoric times. Dayu once came to the location of today's Iron Lock Pass. At that time, there was not such a pass but just a lofty mountain blocking the Yangtze. The roaring flood of the Yangtze River ran to the area that surrounded by the mountain on three sides and could not go any further. Seeing this, Dayu drove his magic ox to hit the mountain in order to make a way for leading the flood. However, the ox failed to make even a cranny. Dayu then cleft the mountain with his magic ax. To his surprise, the mountain was still whole though he had the ax broken and the hand hurt.

Therefore Dayu gathered the stonecutters, woodchoppers, hunters and fishermen around this area to deal with this mountain. They finally decided to use fire. Consequently, Dayu set a fire at the foot of the mountain. People added pine rosin and firewood to it. The tongue of flame quickly reached the peak to make the mountain into a fire ball in an eyewink. With the blast of the tough stones, the huge mountain was separated into two, which were later named Chijia and Baiyan. The two mountains formed Kuimen Gate which we still can see in Qutang Gorge today. A pass, namely today's Iron Lock Pass, was formed between the two mountains with Yangtze waters flowing through.

- Last modified on Aug. 13, 2019 -
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