Christ stopped at Eboli, and perhaps at Tongnan [I]

Close to Sichuan lies the small village of Shuangjiang, rich in history and traditions but nevertheless forgotten and abandoned  to itself. Its inhabitants also don’t have a clear perception of what this place could have been in the past, except for the restyling of the ancient town with the Tianba House (planned by the famous architect Liang Sicheng) that gives a vague image of the glorious place. Everything is stuck and silent, the shops have no reason to exist because the visitors are so exiguous, and if you have the courage to sneak in a side street you will witness a scene comparable with that desert Far West represented in the movies by Sergio Leone. Christ stopped at Tongnan! that is the nearest town. It could sound funny talking about religion and Catholicism in China, but actually this place is magic because of its surprises: in fact there is a small cute church near the river (or what was supposed to be a river some time ago; now the scarce water is black and smelly, probably thanks to a pvc factory previously working here on the top of a hill), and the people do not seem frightened to show their beliefs through sacred images and calendars. The Marian devotion is predominant, in line also with the presence since 1900 in Chongqing of the French Catholic Church of Charity where the holy virgin covers a main role in worship. This place has also great significance in terms of red revivals: here were born the comrades and heroes Yang Angong and Yang Shangkun. At the behest of Jiang Zemin it was built a patriotic museum inside the former residence of the Yang brothers. Shuangjiang represents a duality with its innocent atmosphere and decadent style.

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