A paddy field in Helan County in northwest China's Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region is unique in its purposes. It was not just created for food but also to please the eye.
From a 100-meter tall observation tower nearby, visitors can see seven-color images of the Monkey King, fairies and the God of Longevity – all characters of classic Chinese novel "Journey to the West."
The paddy field paintings were the brainchild of a local company to boost tourism. Since their completion in 2012, the paintings have attracted about 200,000 visits every year.
"The painting work was laborious," said Zhao Jianwen, general manager of Helan Guangyin Rice Industry Co. Ltd. "Farmers needed to rope off patches of paddies and use various types of rice seed to create different colors, according to the blueprint designed by computers."
"We plan to make more paddy paintings next year that will tell the stories in 'Journey to the West,' in which the main character Xuanzang and his disciples embarked on a pilgrimage to India to bring back Buddhist scripts."