China Daily (Hong Kong)
Echo from heaven
Pigeon-whistle maker carries on tradition in Beijing
Pigeon whistle is a traditional heritage of old Beijing, and the art of making pigeon whistles has a long history. Called the echo from heaven, it is a culturally distinct symbol of the Hutong and Siheyuan, and people can hear this beautiful symphony in old Beijing. Zou Liming is a pigeon whistle maker and pigeon fancier with more than 50 years of experience. Making whistles and playing with pigeons are a big part of his life. The whistles are made with materials like gourds and bamboo. Zou says the whistles should be lightweight so the pigeons have an easy time carrying them, and the pigeons should be placed in their homes for a while to get used to the weight on their tails. With different shapes producing different tunes, a flying chord is composed. On the day to celebrate the centenary of the founding of the Communist Party of China, 100,000 pigeons were released into the sky, among which 30 pigeons come from Zou’s breeding. Zou is honored to contribute to the grand ceremony and says the pigeon whistle carries the memory from generation to generation.