Luoyang Bridge, Quanzhou, showing oyster beds

Luoyang Bridge, Quanzhou, showing oyster beds

Luoyang Bridge, Quanzhou, showing oyster beds. Henderson collection, DH-s023.

This magnificent and famous stone beam bridge (Wan’an Bridge) in Qhanzhou, Fujian province was first built in the eleventh century; it has been restored many times since then and still stands.   The elegant granite ship-shaped piers cut the rapid current of the Luoyang River.

Oysters were cultivated around the bridge to help bind the piers and stone blocks – a pioneering example of using a living organism to reinforce a structure.  This photograph (DH-s023) was taken in the late nineteenth century, and shows what appears to be extensive oyster beds exposed at low tide.

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