There were many more rooms to be explored, all showing the way the residence was in the time of the wealthy Zhu family… late 1800s, early 1900s. In recent years, movie makers and television producers have used this residence for the settings of historical stories. It was one of the very few such residences in China not destroyed under Mao’s ‘cultural revolution’… maybe because it’s in south Yunnan and a long way from Beijing, the centre of authority. And now it’s a good place to visit without the normal throngs of tourists in other better known parts of the country.
A feature of many Chinese gardens is a symmetrical array of similar pot plants. Such gardens can easily be changed with the seasons. Here it mirrors the symmetrical architecture of the building.
A very simple room with beautifully carved furniture… not too comfortable I would think!
The room was decorated with a traditional floral Chinese art work and some beautifully painted vases.I wonder what these vases would fetch on the market today? We sometimes see vases like these on the UK’s ‘Antique Road Show’… many collected by family members a couple of hundred years ago when trade was burgeoning between China and England.
Looking back across the courtyard… a pleasant outlook from the room.
Detail of some of the ‘verandah’ decorations.
A calligraphy style of work told in characters and art.
More decorations on the ‘verandah’. The red hangings are a traditional type of ornament…red being a very auspicious good luck colour in China. We have a miniature one for our Christmas tree!
The ornate wooden doors fold back to allow air into the room. Every one of the intricately carved panels is different, and each one tells a story.
Decorative stone bases support the pillars that hold up the high ceilings.
There were many varieties of such carvings throughout the complex.
Yet another design on a base pedestal.
The upper parts of the pillars were also decorated in a variety of colourful patterns. It must take a lot of time and money to keep this place maintained. There were many examples where parts of the houses that are open to the weather were falling into disrepair. Gradually they are being restored and repainted.
Chinese calligraphy style art work uses few strokes of the brush to create the scene.
By contrast, the carving of door panels is complex and detailed.
In one of the function or living rooms, there’s an ornately carved set of shelves, specially designed to show off a large display of vases, each one in its own niche. Very impressive.
Detail of some of the beautiful vases on display.
Another room… again made from timber. With so much timber used in the building of this complex, there was always a danger of fire. Kitchens were in their own ‘out houses’.
A rather grand carved screen in one of the large living areas.
Detail of part of that carved wall.
Another panel on the same wall.
We’d really enjoyed being immersed in viewing these rooms inhabited by the Zhu family… not being hurried by jostling throngs of tourists… able to take our time! But now it was time to go to a different section of the complex, one that had photos of the family and photos of life here in the hey day of the Zhu family. And we’ll look at that section of the residence in the next post.
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