The Xiang River, formerly romanized as the Siang Kiang and now also known as the Xiangjiang, is a river in southern China. The river's name and character is used as the Chinese abbreviation for Hunan.
Originating from Haiyang Mountain (海陽山) in Lingui of Guangxi, the Xiang is the largest river in Hunan and one of the largest tributaries of Yangtze River. It is 856 kilometers (532 mi) long and 670 kilometers (420 mi) of it is in Hunan.
People say the Xiang and the Lijiang River share the same origin, because the upper reaches of the two rivers are connected by the ancient Lingqu Canal, which is located in Xing'an County, Guangxi. According to a traditional saying, 70% of the water in Lingqu flows into the Xiang and 30% flows into the Lijiang. In the past, the canal, along with the Xiang River and the Gui River provided an important waterway connecting the Yangtze River with the Pearl River Delta.
The river passes places such as Xing'an, Quanzhou, and Dongan, Yongzhou, Qiyang, Hengyang, Zhuzhou, Xiangtan, Changsha, Wangcheng, Xiangyin, and empties into Lake Dongting, where it connects to the Yangtze.
- The Xiao River (瀟水) flows into the Xiang near Changsha
- The Zheng River (蒸水) converges with the Xiang in Chengbei District (城北區), Hengyang
- The Lian River (涟水) and Juan River (涓水) flows into the Xiang near Hekou Town (河口镇), Xiangtan
In the Chinese folk religion, the river is protected by the "Xiang River goddesses" or "Xiang Consorts" Ehuang and Nüying. They are said to have been the daughters of the legendary ruler Yao and the wives of his successor Shun. Unable to bear the pain of their husband's death, they committed suicide in this river. An etiological myth relates the spots on the spotted bamboo (斑竹), also known as the Xiang bamboo (湘竹 or 湘江竹), Xiang Consort bamboo (湘妃竹), and teardrop bamboo (淚竹), to the tears of the weeping consorts. They were worshipped in some form by the people of Chu during the Warring States and its poet Qu Yuan is credited with writing the "Ladies Xiang" (湘夫人) to document the ritual songs in their honor.
Major cities along the river
- Encyclopaedia Britannica, 9th ed. (1878), Vol. V, "China".
- Lingqu Canal (Xiang'an County, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region Qin Dynasty) (Nomination for the UNESCO Heritage List)
- Ueki et al. 1999, pp. 133–4.
- "Xiang River", Encyclopædia Britannica, 2009.
- Ueki, Hisayuki; Uno, Naoto; Matsubara, Akira (1999). Matsuura, Tomohisa, ed. Kanshi no Jiten 漢詩の事典 (in Japanese). 1. Tokyo: Taishūkan Shoten. OCLC 41025662.
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