University of Bristol - Historical Photographs of China reference number: OH01-048. Huxinting or Woo Sing Ding 湖心亭 (Heart-of-Lake), Old City, Shanghai. This tea house, dubbed 'The Willow Pattern Tea House' by foreigners due to its resemblance to a favourite English crockery design, is approached by a zigzag bridge (The Nine Curve Bridge). Huxinting may have been one of the inspirations for part of the imaginary scene depicted on willow-pattern crockery. This popular crockery design was developed by Thomas Turner in Shropshire, England in 1780. "South China is evidently the home of the story of the willow pattern which used to be so commonly painted on English china, for here the children's clothes, pinafores and ribbons are all embroidered with silk in this pattern." (Source: Kate Pruen 'The Provinces of Western China', 1906). Evil spirits can travel only in straight lines, so the twisting approach to Huxinting prevents them from entering the tea house. See also HR01-107, Pe01-048, Bk02-03, Bk03-04, Bk05-01, BL-s088 and OH01-049.
The zigzag bridge of Huxinting (湖心亭, 'The Willow Pattern Tea House', Shanghai
Black and white photograph