The Gap (road to Happy Valley)

Mon, 09/22/2014 - 21:39

The China Magazine, Volume 2, Issues 14-19…

The third picture is to be one of a different kind. It is to be a photograph of a piece of engineering. In making a convenient road to the valley from Victoria, it was necessary to make a deep cutting, and we want a photograph of this cutting; let us see if we can make it a little picturesque.

And, apropos of that same cutting—the Wong-nei-chung Gap—perhaps you do not know that, according to the best Chinese authorities, it was a dreadful day for Hongkong when that Gap was made. The Chinese, ever imaginative in their superstitions, profess to see in every hill, or range of hills, the shape and conformation of a dragon. When the dragon's form is not sufficiently clear, or if it be defective or wanting in any part, they will raise a mound, or build a pagoda, or in some other way supply the missing feature. Now in the present case it unfortunately happens that Morrison Hill was the dragon's nose, and when the Gap was made the dragon's nose was cut off from his face. This has made the dragon irate and he intends, we are informed, to hurl dire misfortunes upon Hongkong one of these fine days.

We can see the Gap from where we are in Wong-nei-chung road, and I think that we shall be able to make a passable picture of it which, if not a very brilliant example of art, shall not be too rigidly formal.

We want something in the foreground which shall be interesting but not striking, and which shall break without hiding the monotonous sweep of the plain. A chair and coolies is the most natural thing in the world, but the group must be inactive, the chair upon the ground and the coolies doing nothing particular, otherwise they will be too prominent in the picture. These, with a bush on the one hand, and a bit of pine on the other, remove all tensive sameness and at the same time educate the eye to appreciate the broad plain beyond, and follow the road up through the Gap, the height and breadth of which you are enabled to grasp at once by comparing it with everything else in the picture, while Victoria Peak lifting its head into the lowering clouds is softened into dimness by the distance and so made subordinate to the whole.

Date picture taken


That's an amazing photo - shows just how much got cut away when Morrison Hill was removed.