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Mansion of the Qiao Family

Updated: Nov 19, 2019 shanxi.chinadaily.com.cn/taiyuan Print
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Mansion of the Qiao Family

Mansion of the Qiao Family, located in Qiaojiapu village of Qixian county, is 54 kilometers to the south of Taiyuan, and two kilometers to the north of Dongguan town. It was also known as Zhong Tang.

The mansion was the residence of Qiao Zhiyong, a famous commercial finance capitalist in Qing Dynasty. It was constructed in the reign of Emperor Qianlong of Qing Dynasty. Later, it was reconstructed twice and expanded. Thanks to generations of efforts, the mansion was built into a grand architecture complex in the early years of Republic of China. It displayed the unique styles of dwellings of north China in Qing Dynasty.

On February 13, 2006, a 45-episode TV play series, Mansion of the Qiao Family, was broadcasted in the prime time of Channel-1 of China Central Television. The TV play, based on the stories of Qiao Zhiyong, was directed by Hu Mei, with scenario written by Zhu Xiuhai, and starred by Chen Jianbin and Jiang Qinqin. A long historical novel of the same name was exclusively published by Shanghai Dictionary Press.

Mansion of the Wang Family

Mansion of the Wang Family is an agglomeration of folk houses of Qing Dynasty. It was built by descendants of the Wang Family of Taiyuan, one of the top four families of Lingshi county in history, during the reigns of emperors Kangxi, Yongzheng, Qianlong and Jiaqing of Qing Dynasty. The architecture has grand scales, which are separated into the five lanes, five castles and five ancestral temples. The courtyards of the five ancestral temples were allocated to symbolize the five auspicious beasts of dragon, phoenix, turtle, Chinese unicorn and tiger. They amount to 250,000 square meters.

The mansion now comprises three architectural complexes and the Wang’s ancestral temple. The three architectural complexes are applied as China Dwellings Art Gallery, China Wang Family Museum, and Liqun Art Gallery, which are respectively based in Hongmenpu (dragon), Gaojiaya (phoenix) and Congningpu (tiger). The mansion consists of 231 courtyards and 2,078 rooms, to the size of 80,000 square meters.

The Wang Family Ancestral Temple is separated into two courtyards with complete functions and meticulous designs. An engraved memorial archway for filial piety and personal loyalty is erected in front of the ancestral temple. The ancestral temple serves as a homestead for inhabitation of the souls of Wang family ancestors. Since 1998, tens of thousands of overseas Wang family descendants have come to worship their ancestors and go sightseeing.

Courtyard of Kung Hsianghsi

Courtyard of Kung Hsianghsi, located in the campus of Taigu Normal School to the west of Wubian Temple of Taigu county, is the largest well preserved courtyard in the county with architectural styles of mid Qing Dynasty. It is a cultural relic under provincial protection. The courtyard was originally the residence of Meng Guangyu, a local gentry. It was constructed in the reigns of Emperor Qianlong and Emperor Xianfeng. It was sold to Kung Hsianghsi in 1930. In 1934, Chiang Kai-shek resided in the courtyard. Later, it was occupied by Japanese invaders, and employed as an army service station by troops of Chiang Kai-shek and Yan Xishan, and as a hospital and office of the police. In August 1948, Deng Xiaoping visited the courtyard.

The courtyard sits in the south and faces the north. It stretches 91 meters in the east-west direction, and 69 meters in the north-south way. It has a total area of 6,325 square meters. It currently comprises the main courtyard, kitchen yard, study yard, theatre yard, Mozhuang yard, western garden, and partly damaged eastern garden. It consists of a number of compound courtyards in side-to-side setup. Each compound courtyard is separated into a few quadrangle courtyards along the central axis. The courtyards are divided with open corridors, corridors attached to houses or halls. The main architectures adopt bracket system and fly rafters to look elegant. The wooden structures comprise carved beams and painted rafters, resembling rainbows. The courtyards are joined with festoon doors, vase doors, octangle doors or crescent doors. The partition walls are decorated with windows of various modeling. The courtyards take various shapes and styles to look elegant and pure. They are dainty and exquisite in details, looking harmonious.

Courtyard of Kung Hsianghsi is well preserved. The eastern garden features still exist. On the whole, the architecture maintains characteristics of northern dwellings and southern gardens. It is a model of integrating the merits of northern and southern residences and gardens. To date, the courtyard has been developed into a cultural tourism destination.

Mansion of the Cao Family

Mansion of the Cao Family, also known as Sanduotang Museum, is located in the northeastern corner of Beihuang village five kilometers to the southwest of Taigu county seat, Shanxi province. It is adjacent to Nantongpu railway and No.108 national highway in the north. The mansion takes up a land of 10,638 square meters, with 6,348 square meters area of structure. It keeps architectural complex of Ming, Qing dynasties and Republic of China period. It exhibits numerous treasures.

The mansion was opened to the public in October 1995. It has become a favorable tourism destination in central Shanxi. It is a cultural relic under provincial protection. On May 25, 2006, the mansion, as an ancient architecture of Ming and Qing dynasties, was approved by State Council into the sixth group of cultural relics under national protection.

Cao Bangyan, an early ancestor of the Cao Family, was a native of Jinci Huata village of Taiyuan. He made a living by selling earthen pots. During the reign of Emperor Hongwu of Ming Dynasty, he moved the family to Beihuang village of Taigu county. He concurrently worked as a farmer. When the Cao family descended to the 14th generation, there was a man named Cao Sanxi, who braved the journey to do business in northeast China and reaped profits. The Cao family set up many shops in northeast China.

When the Manchu troops entered Shanhai Pass in the 17th century, Cao moved his businesses back to inland areas. He set up a shop first in Taigu and promoted the business nationwide. When it came to the reign of Emperor Daoguang and Emperor Xianfeng, the Cao family reached the height of splendors. They set up 640 shops across the country, with 12 million silver dollars assets. The Cao family employed 3,700 workers. There was a saying that "the Cao family has a business in any place that sparrows fly." Later, the Cao family eyed the world market by selling Chinese tea and cloths to Japan, Moscow, Paris and London. It imported steel from Japan, ginseng from Korea and metal products from Russia. The Cao family explored a Tea Road between Shanxi and Mongolia, rivaling the historically famous Silk Road.

 

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